BY GARY VERBEEK, MECHANICS AND BIBLE TEACHER
Have I really been at ACS for 30 years and teaching for 35?
Initially, I was hired to start a mechanics program but started out teaching woods class. Five years later, we tore down the two bay “garage” behind the school and Fricia Construction built the awesome mechanics shop we still operate out of today. Little did I know that the skinny 13-year-old kid named John Atsma, who was helping his father, Hilka, build that addition, would one day marry our daughter and be in charge of the newest expansion of ACS! And recently, I stood eye to eye (literally) with my 15-year-old grandson, Kegan, as I welcomed him into my tech ed class! Who gets to do that?
I am filled with awe, wonder, amazement, and joy (and my eyes are a little misty). Where has the time gone? I have also asked God, “What have I done to deserve love like this?”
The answer is simple…nothing. It is all God.
I also teach Bible and am constantly encouraged by the “heroes of the faith” in Hebrews. God constantly takes broken, self-centered, lying, violent, sinful people, many who don’t even seek Him and says, “You are mine now.”
Then He starts the process of chipping off all those sin infested pieces (sometimes He has to use a sledgehammer, speaking from personal experience) and forms us into one of His trophies that He presents to God the Father! What kind of love is that? The best kind. The most genuine kind.
The only REAL love comes only from our God.
So, what’s my point?
1. God Is Faithful
Beyond our imaginations! ACS is full of faithful families. Yes, some are broken and hurting, but as a community of believers, these families don’t stand alone. In my extended family, we talk often about “it takes a village to raise a child.” Through good times and difficult times, God is providing a huge village to raise our kids and grandkids where He is watching, celebrating, crying at times, laughing, and cheering us on!
He is blessing ACS and all those who are a part of it. I know. I have lived in this “village” for 30 years on the front lines. I have seen the power of prayer, the strength of its members in hard times, the incredible generosity, the amazing vision, and the faith to always move in the direction God leads us in.
So I encourage you all to be faithful to Him. Tuition is costly and our lives are busier than ever. Sacrifices need to be made just as they were years ago when Christian schools (like ACS) were started in this country and our parents and grandparents would have sold the kitchen table and eaten off the floor to pay the tuition (and that’s not far from the truth).
2. Be Obedient
We all fall short of being obedient all the time. Why bother? Because God demands it. Obedience is not an option. Today’s culture is becoming so twisted and perverse. Voices call out to everyone so loudly and convincingly that if our ears are tuned in to it instead of God’s word, we will not be able to stay obedient to Him. It’s an effort. A big everyday effort!
I love teaching grade 10 Bible and too often, I’ve seen how our youth listen to the voice of this culture we live in. Our “village” must speak louder to our kids and grandkids. They are listening and watching. Most of them want to know more about God and how to live for Him. Talk to your kids about what God desires for them. Show them what the Bible says and live it. The benefits to your kids and grandkids (and to you) are guaranteed by God Himself.
3. Time Is Precious
Our lives are so busy pursuing wealth, sports, entertainment, and many other “worldly” things. We have lost the blessing of having regular meals together as families and going “up to the House of the Lord” together as families to worship God on Sundays. We often forget our calling as a dad or a mom to be pastors, teachers, and mentors to the kids God has blessed us with. I do worry somewhat about what the future will look like for our kids and grandkids, but I have NO worries about what God has in store for those who are faithful and obedient, including our school!
I have a few more years to go at ACS and I am ever thankful God called our family here in 1990. God is faithful and we need to mirror that faithfulness every day. Don’t be afraid to make the necessary sacrifices to raise your kids in the fear and honour of the Lord.
God is pleased when His people give things over to Him in response to His faithfulness to them. The Bible is full of these stories. And you know what? He is just as pleased with that today!