This week’s assembly tackled the difficult topic of pornography- its addictive nature and the prevalence of it in our culture and even our church. Mrs. Slaa started her presentation by sharing a video that tells the story of Garrett Jonsson. You can watch the video here.
Following the video, Mrs. Slaa discussed the definition of pornography and shared some statistics with the students (e.g. 64% of people aged 13-24 actively seek out porn on a weekly basis). Much of this information can be found on the website www.fightthenewdrug.org, along with more information about how to help combat this addiction.
An addiction to pornography is much like an addiction to a chemical drug. Watching porn releases chemicals in the brain which causes the brain to rewire and ultimately forms a dependency. And like other drug addictions, there are serious negative effects caused by a dependency on porn, things like divorce, lack of real relationships, job loss, and depression. Pornography addictions are also becoming more common among females, and can often be linked to sexual assault and sex trafficking.
Often, the process looks like this: a person (sometimes as young as 8 or 9 years old) stumbles across pornography accidentally. They proceed to Google a few things out of curiosity, then eventually start seeking things out regularly. Some will begin to notice the impact and try to quit, but many will relapse.
The world tries to tell us that watching porn is normal, that it’s healthy even! But the Bible tells us a different story. It tells us to flee from sexual immorality (2 Tim. 2:22). It tells us that things like porn are idols in our lives, and we need to put it to death (Col. 3:5). And it also gives us hope. 1 Cor. 10:13 assures us that God will ‘provide a way out’ when we are facing temptations.
What are some ways that God might provide help? There are practical things like ad-blockers and internet filters that can do a lot of good. Use helpful resources like ‘Fight the New Drug.’ Having a trusted friend to pray with you and hold you accountable is an extremely valuable practice. And pray, at all times, in the Spirit, for yourself and for others (Eph. 6:18).
Discussion starters for conversation with your teen:
- Have you ever accidentally seen something pornographic online? If so, how did that affect you?
- Do you think this is a problem with your friends? Is there peer pressure in this area? E.g. on social media, on the bus, etc.
- What are some of the ways that I (your parent) can help you in this area?
‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it”’ (Isaiah 30:21).
For our second assembly of the year, Mr. de Haan addressed the school on the topic of our theme text from Isaiah. He explained how this text is about where we’re going, how we ought to get there, and who is there to help us. It’s about listening to God’s voice when we make decisions. This text offers a challenge which is very important to everyone- students, teachers, parents, etc. It’s really about making the right decisions. It’s about heeding God’s voice, and responding in faith.
The first people to hear these words from Isaiah would have been the Israelites. Isaiah reminded the leaders of Israel to listen to God’s directions, but time and time again the Israelite leaders ignored that advice and went their own way. And we’re no different! Don’t we so often do the same? We’re told the way to go, we’re told to listen to God’s direction, but we think our way is better, and so we make decisions based on our own desires.
Every one of us makes thousands of decisions every day. Some big, some small, some smart, and some dumb. Some of our bad decisions don’t have much of an impact on anything or anyone, but some of them could even put people’s lives in danger! As Christians, we are not immune to sin, struggle, and poor decision making. We need true direction which we get by listening to God’s voice, and not allowing the noise of the world to drown Him out.
Consider a GPS. When you ignore the GPS and take a different route, the voice you hear isn’t impatient or frustrated, it simply recalculates and guides you back to the path that will lead you to your destination. Isn’t God kind of like that GPS? When we stray, He doesn’t throw up His hands in defeat and frustration. Instead He offers us grace, and patiently guides us back to Him. What love!
Use this acronym to help you in your decision making:
P - Pause: Think before you act!
R - Read: What does the Bible say?
A - Ask: Talk to your parents, teachers, friends, counselors, etc. Talk to God!
Y - Yield: Listen to your God-given conscience. His will be done!
1. Talk about some of the decisions you’ve made lately. What’s one of the best decisions you’ve made? One of the worst? How often is asking God to guide your decision making a part of your prayer?
2. Consider North American culture. Do you agree that it is self-serving? If so, how does that affect the way people make decisions? What larger effect is there on families, communities, etc.?
Our latest assembly began with Mr. Struik sharing tales of his attempt at becoming an expert wood carver. He bought the appropriate supplies, found some beginner project ideas online, and got to work. Things did not immediately go well, so he sought help from other carvers online. What he found was a cacophony of voices; endless opinions that overwhelmed and didn’t even really answer the questions he had. In reflecting on this, Mr. Struik shared with the students that it would have been much more helpful for him to have a mentor, someone to help help him sift through the online throng of voices, someone he trusted to give him the right advice.
This is just one example of what living in the digital age looks like. We are constantly surrounded by a multitude of voices and opinions on social media. These messages we are bombarded with are often at odds with each other as well. So who are we to trust? And what messages are we taking in daily, often without even realizing the impact these messages are having on us?
We have, of course, one thing that should be our guide through this chaos: the Word of God. The Bible is the one influence that is completely reliable and 100% true. The Word of God lights our path (Psalm 119:105), Jesus shepherds us along the way (John 10:27), and the Spirit of God advocates for us (John 14:16-17). Jesus provided us with the perfect example for how to use Scripture to guide us when he himself used Scripture to deny the temptations of the devil. In order to follow this example, we must immerse ourselves in the Word, so that when temptations arise we are able to turn to Scripture for help without needing to Google it first.
Mr. Struik mentioned a few common questions that arise in our society. Use these to stimulate discussion with your family!
1. What should I think about this new show that all my friends are watching? That maybe even other Christian leaders are watching?
2. Aren’t all religions sort of the same? We can’t really judge other religions, or even other Christians, can we? Doesn’t the Bible say not to judge?
3. My favourite Blogger/Instragrammer/Snapchatter (etc.) says that the most effective Christians are the ones who just keep their faith private and don’t annoy people by talking about it. Is that true?
4. Do snitches really deserve stitches?
In this week’s assembly, Mr. Meints opened by asking the students to reflect on a few things. Are they interested in deepening their relationship with God? Do they want to get more out of their devotions? Are they able to be open and vulnerable with their friends about personal things?
To address these questions, Mr. Meints shared some of his own journey of growth and faith. A big part of that journey has been his involvement in Stepping Stones Bible Camp. While there, he found a place where he spent a lot of time in prayer, Bible reading, singing without feeling awkward, open vulnerability with other Christians, and good clean fun. In short, he found a picture of what deep, meaningful, authentic, fun Christian living could look like.
People may find inspiration like this in a variety of different places and activities, but the general idea is that we all need to be disciplined in our Christian walk. Here are 8 disciplines to focus on that help us grow in our walk with God:
Pray a lot, for yourself and for others. Be real with God.
Set aside time to explore God’s Word. Dig deep; read it often.
Put your heart into singing- at school, church, assemblies, etc. Put worship music into your playlists!
Have meaningful conversations. Spend time with others doing God-glorifying things.
Find someone to share your struggles with. Be the person someone else comes to for accountability.
Rest/quiet time with God:
Put the phone away. Go for a walk. Meditate and pray.
Marvel at creation:
Wonder at the mountains. Stare up at the stars. Be in awe of the Creator.
Have wholesome fun. Tell clean jokes. Laugh, dance, and party to the glory of God!
Now, this is not an ‘8 step guide to being a good Christian.’ Yes, these are things we should do, but it is important to do them with the right motivation. It’s not about a checklist, or easing feelings of guilt, or making your parents and teachers happy. It has to be about thankfulness. You have a Father who loves you so much he sacrificed his only son for you. You have a brother, Jesus, who died a horrifying death on a cross because he loves you, and a risen Lord who is coming back for you. You have the Spirit of God, living in you, working in you, giving you all that you need for eternal life. Let that motivate you!
1. Which of these disciplines in your personal or family life are strong? Which are weak? Strategize as to what you can do as an individual or family to grow in an area of weakness.
2. What practical things get in the way of practicing these disciplines regularly? Brainstorm some ideas to minimize or eliminate things that get in the way.
3. Are there limitations to vulnerability? If there are limitations, what are they? Is there a danger in being too safe - not being vulnerable? What can we do to balance 'safety' and 'vulnerability' wisely?
In last week’s assembly, Mr. Douma reminded the students that it has been 400 years since the Synod of Dort. As we reflect on that event, we remember that throughout the history of the church there have been doctrinal errors that we need to be cautious of. For example, Pelagius thought it to be inconceivable that God would command us to do something that we are not able to do on our own. He rejected the idea that salvation requires grace. The Canons of Dort addresses this error. We believe that by grace, through faith, we act according to God’s commandments.
Faith doesn’t grow on trees. We must spend time in God’s word, in prayer, and in discussion about faith with friends and family. But that still doesn’t mean that we are taking the first steps towards faith. God calls us to him; he is the instigator of our relationship of faith. Augustine prayed, “Give what you command, and command what you will.” Some people misunderstand this to say that believers are not at all responsible and there’s nothing they can do. We need to reject messages that say we are just zombies, or that grace is not enough to save us.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).
1. Mr. Douma shared a story from his youth of a man at church suggesting that many young people hear God speak at church, then hop in their cars, turn the radio on, and listen to what the devil has to say. Discuss this! Do you agree?
2. What value is it to you personally to remember and study events in church history like the Synod of Dort?
3. Discuss the partnership of grace and works. If there’s nothing I can do to earn salvation, why try so hard to be good? No matter how much I sin, God will save me by grace, right?!
At our most recent school assembly, Mr. Kobes talked to the students and staff about the importance of words, and why we as Christians need to pay especially close attention to the words we read and use. We were encouraged to remember three things:
►Words are important.
Choose your words wisely and know when to say them.
►Words are specific.
Read the Bible knowing it’s a translation, and recognize the benefit of multiple translations.
►Words have significance.
You wear the name of Christian. Ensure you are acting in accordance with that name!
1. Why are words so important that the Bible would repeatedly discuss taming the tongue?
2. What are some benefits of reading the Bible in multiple translations? What should we consider when reading the Bible knowing it’s a translation?
3. What does it mean to "wear" the name of Christian?
4. Why are we called Credo Christian and what are we called to?
Thanks to Kayla VanderHorst for creating this assembly summary!
At our most recent assembly, alumna Dolita Snyder came in to talk to the students about her journey from Credo high school student to wife, mother, and unit clerk. Her path was not always easy or consistent; she took on a few different jobs (good and bad) before finally discovering the career God had planned for her. It was clear throughout all of the various experiences though, that God was with her on her path, and that each experience was an opportunity for growth. Christ has always been the constant for her, just as He is for us all, and every choice we make should keep Him at the center.
Dolita left the students with a few tips on how to live an active Christian life as they prepare for and eventually enter the working world.
►Be a support and encouragement to one another!
►Talk to God!
You are important to Him, and He must be the most important to you.
Your path might not always be clear, and it might even hurt sometimes, but when you stay obedient to God, He will provide.
Be thankful for what you have, and remember who has given it all to you.
1. Discuss your expectations for post-secondary education and/or work.
2. How important is it to know exactly what you want to do with your life by the time you graduate high school?
3. When things don’t go quite how you expect them to, how do you react? If your reaction is negative, what are some practical things you could do to train yourself to react more positively?
Thanks to Kayla VanderHorst for creating this assembly summary!
Our recent assembly started with Mr. VanderHorst playing part of the well-loved song Africa, by Toto. Everyone listening enjoyed the music and there were smiles on many faces. This soon changed when Mr. VanderHorst proceeded to play a version of the same song, except this time the music was offbeat and the vocals were off-key. Immediately, those listening started to cringe and beg for it to stop.
So how does this connect to our lives as Christians? Mr. VanderHorst explained that the more he listened to this horrible remix, the less repulsive it became; in fact, he almost started to enjoy it! Sin is like that. At first, we might be repulsed by it, but as we become more familiar with it, we start to hate it less. We get used to sin, and get comfortable with it.
Next, we talked about frogs. Apparently, scientists sometimes boil frogs to kill them before dissection. If they were to just plop them into boiling water though, the frogs would recognize the danger and jump out. Instead, the frogs are placed in cold water and as the heat is slowly turned up, the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening and stays put, until it eventually dies.
Again, we need to connect this analogy to sin. When obvious sins threaten to slam into us, we are more likely to recognize it and jump out of the way. The devil, knowing this, works slowly and gently, easing us into sin and gradually making us comfortable with it before we eventually end up dead. Mr. VanderHorst shared an example from his experience at BCIT. He had made friends with some non-Christians who used God’s name in vain and he hadn’t said anything to stop them. Some months later, he was singing Psalm 32 in church and was convicted by the words of that psalm. He knew he had to speak up!
In conclusion, we were reminded that sin is not something to embrace, but something to run from, to flee from! Whenever you hear Africa, by Toto, use it as a reminder. Remember the awesome reality that when we run from sin, we are not running blindly, rather, we are running into the arms of a loving Saviour.
1. How did you feel, listening to the offbeat, off-key version of Africa? Does sin ever make you feel that way?
2. Think about some of the little sins that you may have gotten comfortable with. In what ways might Satan be slowly ‘turning the heat up’ in your life?
3. What are some practical ways you can flee from sin? What does that really look like in your life? Be specific!
Africa (original): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQbiNvZqaY
Offbeat/Off-key version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwNGR792Ifk
Thanks to Kayla VanderHorst for creating this assembly summary!
Mrs. Bredenhof began her talk about the school dress code with an explanation of why Credo has a dress code in the first place. It is not a measure of modesty, rather, its purpose is to outline what is appropriate in the particular setting we find ourselves in—school.
When we talk about modesty, there are a couple of key points we need to remember. First of all, if a guy struggles with disrespectful thoughts towards a girl, that’s on him. We cannot shift the blame onto girls for this. Girls, that doesn’t make it okay to dress immodestly! We need to consider what the Bible says about modesty. Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:9 that we should wear ‘respectable apparel’, and Peter says in 1 Peter 3:4 that we must put on ‘a gentle and quiet spirit’. Jesus described himself in this way, when he said that he is ‘gentle and humble in heart’ (Matthew 11:29). The world tells us to value external beauty, but God tells us to value internal beauty. Outward modesty will flow out of pure inner motives.
Getting to back to the dress code, Mrs. Bredenhof outlined a number of different dress codes that exist in various jobs and cultures throughout our world (e.g. a construction worker’s dress code is very different from a waiter’s). Credo’s dress code is a result of parental expectations and is a pretty standard school dress code. There are certain things we take a hard line on, and others that we have some flexibility with, where discretion is needed. Sometimes it’s difficult to find appropriate clothing that fits the dress code (e.g. shorts for girls), but with a little extra effort, it really is possible! Some people may disagree with certain elements of the dress code, but with a wide range of opinions out there, it’s impossible to please everyone and so a peaceable balance must be sought. Should leggings be banned? Should hats be allowed? As a community, we will likely never be in total agreement about things like this. Instead, let’s all aim to be respectful in the way we dress and understand that living in community involved working together towards reasonable compromise.
- Do you understand why the school has a dress code? Do you agree with those reasons?
- Parents: If you work out of the home, what are the dress expectations at your place of employment?
- What do you like about the dress code? Are there things about the dress code you would like to see changed? Why?
- How do you feel about school uniforms?
- We are constantly bombarded with images of immodesty and worldly ‘ideals’. How does that affect you?
- What does it mean to have ‘a gentle and quiet spirit’ (1 Peter 3:4)?