The Foundations of Learning

Author: Tyson Kenny, Deputy Principal

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are 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.

Luke 6:46-48

This week’s bible passage is the perfect message for all students at the start of the school year to learn and apply in their lives.  As most of us know, achieving well as a learner takes a great deal of hard work and determination.  Sure, advanced general knowledge and having a high level of intelligence would be helpful, but a foundation of regular study habits and learning routines are by far the greatest ingredient in order to be a successful student.

I remember a few years ago encouraging students to ‘get the little things right’, as this then allows the bigger things in life to not seem so insurmountable.  I’m confident that in a few years from now, I will still be sharing a message like this with students.

As we learn in life, change is inevitable; however, during our lives, we also come to know and understand that certain things never change.  It’s these things, like the importance of hard work, which can be easy to know, but sometimes difficult to always apply.

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For students this year, I hope they can, bit by bit, and just like the message of building a house, slowly take the time and energy to build and develop their study habits.  Not everyone has the ability to achieve an ‘A’, well at least not straightaway; however, everyone has the ability to control their choices when they enter a classroom or sit down at home to complete homework.  When entering a classroom, those that enter with a mindset to do their best, answer as many questions and indeed ask questions themselves, are laying the foundations to be a successful learner.   

To be a successful student, there also needs to be a level of commitment demonstrated outside of the classroom when at home.  I fully agree that students need to also have a certain level of downtime and social interaction outside of school hours; however, their progress as a learner  should not only be confined to the 5 hours of curriculum they complete on a school day for 40 weeks of the year.

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Homework does not necessarily have to be completing more questions that were done in class again and again.  It can also be completing general research into interesting things which are currently being learned, practising new skills, reading up on different and competing theories, sharing new knowledge with family or friends, or working on an item of assessment.  Perhaps homework should be rephrased to ‘home learning’ and completed by every student whether or not they are specifically told by their teachers that day that they have certain homework (or home learning) to complete.

It is clear that to be a successful learner, which certainly has not changed in my lifetime, students need to develop strong foundations of consistent study habits, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Those that do, and are prepared to do their best day-by-day, class-by-class, have the greatest opportunity for fulfil their God given potential.

I encourage all students this year to embrace every learning activity or task as an opportunity to develop as a learner.  Those that do will not only strengthen their foundation as a learner, but also broaden their future prospects in life, both during and post their secondary education.

King Nebuchadnezzar Dreams of a Tree

Author: Mrs Janelle Anderson, Principal

What a wonderful start to the year with our Year 7 camp, a very uplifting Opening Service and our whole school Inter House Swimming Carnival. All of these experiences have set a wonderful tone for our 20th Anniversary year. I pray this week’s message continues to add to our deep thinking about our Foundations theme and the strong bonds our College has to the tree imagery.

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This week’s bible verse is based on King Nebuchadnezzar and is reported in the bible by Daniel who helped the king interpret his dreams. This unique chapter is the testimony of a Gentile king and how God changed his heart. In this, Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of a witness - one who relates what he has seen and experienced. We have chosen only verse 15, but the chapter which you might like to read, tells of the full dream and the impact that God had on Nebuchadnezzar as King. From a disbelieving King, proud and arrogant to regaining his role to be a caring and thoughtful leader.

Daniel 4:15 - New International Version (NIV)

But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth.

A tree in the midst of the earth: The tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was noted for its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter. This was in his mind a reflection on the King he was.

He cried aloud and said thus: The watcher (presumably an angel) explained the fate of the tree. He noted that the tree was to be chopped down, and it would lose its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter. He also said that the tree represented a man who would be changed and given the heart of a beast. This was the fate the king was to endure.

Bound with a band of iron and bronze: These were either for the tree stump’s confinement or protection. The tree would no longer be free and great. The imagery here describes the discomfort that was to befall the king.

In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men: Nebuchadnezzar heard these words in his dream. In light of this, the dream wasn’t hard to interpret – it clearly dealt with the humbling of a great king. No wonder none of Nebuchadnezzar’s counsellors wanted to interpret the dream for him. Daniel took the brave step to interpret the dream as he had felt called by God to help Nebuchadnezzar understand the need for him to change his heart and to look to God for the best way to be a great leader.

Our understanding of verse 15 specifically is that the whole tree was not to be destroyed, but just so much was to remain as could produce a new sapling. As long as the stump remained, it might be hoped that the green branches might shoot forth again. The belt of iron and brass is represented as being put around the stump of the tree in order to prevent it cracking, and so rotting.

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As we know, the dream identifies the tree as a representation of King Nebuchadnezzar, but this is the promise we are each able to relate to. We too will veer from the responsibilities and expectations to serve God. At times that may have even happened in our College, but this verse helps us to know that no matter what happens God will still support us, allowing us to regrow in our faith and that the earthly binds can be overcome through our belief in him. The tree can withstand the hardships, challenges and our lack of faith because of its breadth of roots and the life giving waters that will provide the nutrition and sustenance to allow the tree to re-shoot from what appears to be a the barren stump.

One commentary on the verse says:

That though the mighty tree would fall, yet there would remain vitality in the root, or the portion that would remain in the earth after the tree was cut down, and that this would spring up again - a most striking image of what would occur to Nebuchadnezzar after he should be cast down from his lofty throne, and be again restored to his reason and to power.

With a band of iron and brass - This expression may be regarded as applicable either to the cut-down tree, or to the humbled monarch. If applied to the former, it would seem that the idea is, that the stump or root of a tree, deemed so valuable, would be carefully secured by an enclosure of iron or brass, either in the form of a hoop placed round the top of the stump, to preserve it from being opened or cracked by the heat of the sun, so as to admit moisture, which would rot it; or around the roots, to bind it together, with the hope that it would grow again; or it may refer to a railing or enclosure of iron or brass, to keep it from being ploughed or dug up as worthless. In either case, it would be guarded with the hope that a tree so valuable might spring up again. If applied to the monarch - an explanation not inconsistent with the proper interpretation of the passage - it would seem to refer to some method of securing the royal maniac in bonds of iron and brass, as with the hope that his reason might still be restored.

If we can take this rather complex imagery and apply the message to ourselves then we can simplify it to these four simple messages. To live in the way that we can serve God and be caring and compassionate as God would want from us. We need to -

  • Have a heart of humble adoration.

  • Show a heart of unquestioning acceptance.

  • Exercise the spirit of reverent love.

  • Let our spirit have profound delight.

Prayer

Father, we have at times sought to do things by following the wisdom of the world instead of coming to You in humility asking for Your wisdom and doing Your work in Your way. We now come to You ready to ask you to nourish us and to enable us to grow in your ways, we ask this through our actions and prayers. Father, we are grateful for this community and help us to stay firm in our belief and when we stray we know that you will always help us to find a way to rekindle our faith in you and what this community stands for. Amen.

Senior Badging Ceremony 2019 - Mrs Anderson's Message

Author: Mrs Janelle Anderson, Principal

This message was written by Mrs Anderson and shared on her behalf at each of the Senior Badging Ceremonies (held in House Groups) by members of the College Plenary Team.

As we enter this 20th Anniversary year, we are able to reflect on the vision and inspiration needed for a brave and daunting challenge, such as building a school. We are excited that God has sustained us as an ongoing community for the duration of the planning and the 20 years of wonderful development, growth and living and thriving in this Faith Life Education Community. As a reflection on all that we have become, we have chosen under the guidance of our Year 12 Senior leaders, the following verse from Colossians for our theme this year.

Colossians 2:7 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.

We are here today to badge our Year 12 Graduating Class of 2019. As they embark on their final year which is a culmination of all they have completed, participated in, performed and executed, we see them at their pinnacle in this school setting – they are to be our inspiration and motivation to be more and achieve more. But drawing on our bible verse and our College imagery of the tree, which inspires our fruits of faith and therefore our responsibilities within this community, we gain a further clarity from the Colossians verse.

Trees and plants get their nutrition through the root system. The roots also keep a plant or tree upright. Colossians 2:6-7 teaches us to let our roots grow down into Christ Jesus and to build our lives in him. Just like the tree, what we feed on makes us who we are. If a tree is planted in the right kind of soil, it will grow properly and live a long life. If the soil becomes contaminated, the tree is likely to become poorly or die. When some trees become flooded because of a swamp, they die. If a tree thrives in acid soil, but you pile lime on the ground over its roots, the tree may die. Also, a mature tree may die if you raise the level of the soil over its roots. Just as a good horticulturist will provide the right kind of soil and nutrition for the plants and trees in his care, our Heavenly Father has provided what we need to thrive under his care. God, our Creator knows us through and through. He knows what makes us work and what will give us fulfilling lives.

Just as God encourages us, we ask each Faith community member and in particular our Year 12 leaders, to encourage others to grow. The term transformational leadership underpins what we do, but it cannot happen if we each don’t take our responsibilities for the role in which we are placed. Whether that is being a student, a player, a team member, coach, teacher, friend, sibling or child, all intertwine for the best outcomes. This style of leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality." (Bass, 1978, page 20).

Our encouragement to each Year 12 student is to fulfil their responsibilities as our seniors in the following ways:

1)     Model the way

This is the simplest, but most effective thing you can do. Represent yourself as a role model for others, living out the expectations of the College in a way that makes you and others proud. For this to have an impact and for you to have credibility, you must do this with integrity. Be true to your words, and your actions must reflect what you say. Having good relationships grows from this character trait and you can then have expectations that others will walk alongside you to plan and achieve the goals we desire for the College.

2)     Inspire a shared vision

Ensure you have discussed with your peers, staff, and students the ideas and goals you have. Whether it is a formal role or your responsibilities in Care Group, teams, classes or working in class partnerships - being able to verbally share and be active in demonstrating strategies to achieve the vision is vital. You need to be an inspiration to others and this will require each of you to show positivity to promote participation through both your and others creativity and commitment. Set goals for yourself and provide targets for others. Always looking forward and promote the best outcomes for those you lead.

3)     Challenge the process

We should all strive to embrace achieving the agreed outcomes, but the methodology to succeed can be new. It is okay to challenge or question how and why things have been done in a particular way; change is inevitable. Know your purpose, seek others’ perspectives and plan. Remember change for changes sake is not always needed, but it is okay to sometimes test the unknown.

4)     Enable others to Act

In all you do, don’t underestimate utilising others skills and knowledge. Allow their ideas and their contributions to flourish, as this will strengthen the trust needed for success. Be aware - “We become most powerful (or influential) when we give our own power away.” For this to be believed you have to build a climate of trust and facilitate relationships.

The building of trust is an organisational quality. Once trust exists it becomes the norm that sets the standard for how teachers behave toward each other and their students. (For you this is also for how you relate to other students). Once part of the culture of the school, trust works “to liberate people to be their best, to give others their best, and to take risks: All of these behaviours help schools to become better places for students”(Sergiovanni, 2005, page 90).

This will mean you may need to show others different ways to engage, build up their skills and their competencies.  This will grow both their and your confidence. Remember though too much delegation can make you look lazy and lacking in motivation.

5)     Encourage the heart.

In all you do, you want to inspire a desire in others to participate and engage. This can only happen when you capture their interest. Create links to something they believe so they will put their heart into the idea, event or activity. What happens after the engagement is vital - celebrating successes and participation as well as acknowledging their contributions builds spirit and belonging. Recognition is something we all desire and this is why we are here today. As we ask you Year 12’s to pledge your commitment to these leadership responsibilities for this year, we also ask each of you, the students in front of us to also know that their success is based on your support and allegiance to the goals and plans for 2019 that they will share and ask of you. 

In all we do, may we know that God will be there to guide us and for us to remember he has made plans for us. So when we inevitably lose course sometimes, let’s go back to our foundations in Christ. Be grateful for the community and the gifts we receive and have the patience to find the path God has called for each of us.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, grow our love for you so we will trust in You when we can’t see the path ahead clearly. Help us to trust in You, more than we trust in our own abilities. Help us not to say yes when no is the right answer. Help us balance our time to be most effective and to accomplish Your will more than the will of others.

Never allow our plans to get ahead of – or in the place of – Your plan. Remind us frequently that Your way is best and we will always be most successful when we wait for You. Allow us to forgive easily, hold no grudges or bitterness, and live in and extend to others the grace You have provided to us. Never let us get so proud or arrogant that we forget we need Your hand upon our lives. Provide us with courage and conviction to face our fears and critics and lead people to bigger realities of Your will.

Grant us wisdom to make decisions big and small and to have the conviction to follow You when it contradicts our desires or the demands of others. Give us discernment and surround us with wise people who follow You and can speak into our lives. Help us guard our heart, overcome temptation, and keep our character and reputation above reproach. Build around us people who believe in us, know us, and are willing to speak hard truths into our lives.

Give us patience with people, the pace of progress, and with things we can’t understand. Assure us continually that Your plan is always worth waiting for and will be better than anything we can produce on our own. Help us communicate with clarity, consistency, and competence. Guard our tongue and keep us from reckless words. Make us an encourager and a builder of people with the things we say.

Help us to love each other and use our influence for the good of others. Allow us to see our life’s mission as bigger than today. Help us to leave a legacy, which brings glory to You.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Opening Service - Pastor Noel's Message

Author: Pastor Noel Burton

Readings: Colossians 2:7 & Psalm 1:3

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Pastor Noel Burton delivering his message at Opening Service

Pastor Noel Burton delivering his message at Opening Service

I went to Tasmania for a couple weeks in January. While there, we visited a facility breeding Tasmanian Devils and Quolls near Cradle Mountain National Park, an area with temperate rainforests. In a discussion about climate changes, the ranger pointed to a beautiful big gum tree, a beautiful big dead gum tree, and said it had died because the rains have not been up to what that tree needs. It died of insufficient water.

Psalm 1 begins, “1 God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won't follow sinners or join in sneering at God. 2 Instead, the Law of the Lord makes them happy, and they think about it day and night. 3 They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do.” [CEV]

Water is essential for all life to grow and prosper. And if you are a tree, you need the right soil and right water level for your optimum growth and survival. A big, beautiful, old gum tree that has survived for hundreds of years will still die if it doesn’t have sufficient water. We are no different. We need water to survive. You can last for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Less in extremely hot weather. Water is essential.

In my yard at Plainland, we have planted heaps of trees and bushes.  Early on we planted avocados and banksias.  We soon realised that even if we gave the right amount of water for these plants, the soil wasn’t right. Banksias like sandy soil, and avocados like well-drained soil too. Our first avocado tree was flourishing — until heavy rain came and got its roots too wet.

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All of which helps us understand our text for today: “They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do.” Trees need their roots to be in soil that is right for them, that nourishes them, with consistent water that is sufficient for them to grow and flourish. They flourish and are successful.

Taking that image, the Psalmist says we are similar, spiritually. Each of you gathered here today needs the right environment, the right soil we might say, to nurture you, and the right water delivered continually to sustain you. The Psalm tells us the major component of what we need to flourish and succeed is to be fed on the Word of God and be grounded in Christ, to be nourished and sustained by Christ.

As I look out on this forest of trees before me today, students of Faith College, I also see trees that have been planted beside a stream. As we apply this Psalm to your student life at Faith, we see why for Faith College, the Word of God forms the foundation of all that Faith College does.

Faith College will be celebrating its 20th year, and that celebration recognises that it has flourished, and you, its students have flourished, because there is a foundation in the Word of God and in Christ Jesus. The vision for Faith College to exist grew out of people with their roots grounded in the soil and stream of the Word of God. And that vision continues today. Through this foundation, this soil and this stream of living water coming to us through the Word of God, Faith College continues to flourish and be successful.  You, students of Faith, continue to flourish and be successful.

This is both a statement of what happens, an observation by the Psalmist that life works better this way in God’s world, but also a promise from God that he will flourish and nurture you through his Word. Therefore, it is an encouragement both to each of you as individuals and to you all together as a community of Faith College to remain with that foundation of God and his Word, and of Jesus. It is an encouragement to continue personally anchoring your life in God’s Word, receiving encouragement, knowledge and hope by it, which overflows into all other areas of your life. It is a promise of God that as you do, you will flourish and succeed. And what does that flourishing and succeeding look like? Many in our world judge that by one measure — money. Others judge by fame or beauty. But these are a very poor measures of success. What is being talked about here is deeper, more fulfilling, and more rewarding. 

Success and flourishing is about relationships, about community, about joy, about peace, about fulfilling the purpose God has for you. In fact, one measure of flourishing as a person would mean they increasingly have the following attributes in their life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In a college environment, we might include knowledge and understanding, compassion and commitment. And for the community, success might be helping students to grow and mature as well-rounded people, grounded in God’s Word and in Jesus, prepared for the world and prepared to fulfil their God-given purpose in life.

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We are experiencing a severe drought in many areas of our land. Drought strains people and communities, plants and animals. Sometimes you can come across a tree that flourishes in the dry times because its roots have gone deep, deep, down into the soil finding water underground, hidden from above. As we individually and together as a community of Faith College anchor ourselves deep in God’s Word, we become like those trees. We gain a resilience that carries us through the dry times in life, the tough times, the droughts. We continue to flourish even when times are tough. We continue to succeed even as we face trials and struggles. And this happens because God not only works this way through his Word, but he promises to nourish and sustain us as we stay grounded and anchored in Jesus. As I said before, it is both an observation of how life works, and a promise of God to you.

So, as you begin this new school year, “Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” (Colossians 2:7 [CEV])

And as you face the good times and the tough times, may you anchor yourselves in God’s Word. May he fulfil his promise and nourish you so that you flourish and succeed to be the young people he made you to be. Amen.

The peace of God, which is beyond all human understanding, stand guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Year 7 Camp 2019

Authors: Mr Richard Miegel and Ms Anna Hanssen, Year 7 Coordinators

Preparing to depart for Year 7 camp

Preparing to depart for Year 7 camp

As the new school year started, our Year 7 students arrived with a sense of nerves and excitement as they commenced their time at Faith. The nerves were particularly real as they prepared to head off to Year 7 Camp at Luther Heights. The nerves quickly faded away as students began meeting new friends and their Year Level teachers. It was an exciting three days for the students whilst on camp. The students were full of energy and participated well in all of the activities. In their time at Luther Heights, students got to know one another and developed new friendships as they participated in a range of activities directed at improving teamwork and getting to know one another.

Some of the activities that students participated in included Rescue Me, Challenge Course, Flying Fox, Beach Games and Team Challenge. One of the highlights was seeing students at the Flying Fox and Challenge Course. It was great to see the support and encouragement that students gave each other as they worked together to finish the Challenge Course and to watch as some students conquered their fear of heights. In speaking with a number of students whilst on camp and at school, these activities were also the highlight for many students as well.

We believe that one of the hardest things about starting Year 7 is working out how to use the combination locks for the lockers! While on camp, the students were taught how to use their locks, timetables, and diaries which are essential skills for their transition into high school.

Year 7 students getting ready for the Flying Fox

Year 7 students getting ready for the Flying Fox

We were blessed with the weather, only experiencing a couple of brief showers that didn’t put a dampener on the activities or the students’ spirits. The Year 7 students are to be commended on their behaviour throughout the trip. All of our staff who attended were really impressed with their efforts and attitudes toward the different activities and in being inclusive of everyone. Well done Year 7!

Starting at a new school can be a daunting experience for many students. For all students and parents/carers who are new to Faith, there is some useful information and tips regarding successful transitioning into a new school on SchoolTV. School TV can be found on the Faith Lutheran College portal or by clicking on the following link: https://faithlc.qld.schooltv.me/resource

We look forward to continue getting to know the Year 7 students as they settle into their classes and involve themselves in the many opportunities offered at Faith.

Click here to view more photos from Year 7 Camp on the College Facebook page.