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As we begin this new year of 2015, this prayer from Billy Graham, written for “The Saturday Evening Post” in 2008, is just as relevant this year:

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.

Amen

© 2008 Saturday Evening Post Society.

 

 

 

From God in the dock—Essays on Theology and Ethics by C. S. Lewis, published by William B. Eerdman's Publishing Co. © 1970 The Trustees of the Estate of C.S. Lewis, first appearing December, 1957

Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn't go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business too have a 'view' on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone's business.

I mean of course the commercial racket. The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers. Neither of these circumstances is in itself a reason for condemning it. I condemn it on the following grounds.

  • It gives on the whole much more pain than pleasure. You have only to stay over Christmas with a family who seriously try to 'keep' it (in its third, or commercial, aspect) in order to see that the thing is a nightmare. Long before December 25th everyone is worn out -- physically worn out by weeks of daily struggle in overcrowded shops, mentally worn out by the effort to remember all the right recipients and to think out suitable gifts for them. They are in no trim for merry-making; much less (if they should want to) to take part in a religious act. They look far more as if there had been a long illness in the house.
  • Most of it is involuntary. The modern rule is that anyone can force you to give him a present by sending you a quite unprovoked present of his own. It is almost a blackmail. Who has not heard the wail of despair, and indeed of resentment, when, at the last moment, just as everyone hoped that the nuisance was over for one more year, the unwanted gift from Mrs. Busy (whom we hardly remember) flops unwelcomed through the letter-box, and back to the dreadful shops one of us has to go?
  • Things are given as presents which no mortal every bought for himself -- gaudy and useless gadgets, 'novelties' bbecause no one was ever fool enough to make their like before. Have we really no better use for materials and for human skill and time than to spend them on all this rubbish?
  • The nuisance. for after all, during the racket we still have all our ordinary and necessary shopping to do, and the racket trebles the labour of it.

We are told that the whole dreary business must go on because it is good for trade. It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don't know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I'd sooner give them money for nothing and write if off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance.

 

Congratulations to Dr Ryan Messmore, who has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Millis Institute.

 

Ryan is originally from the United States where he completed a Bachelor degree in Public Policy and a Masters in Christian Ethics from Duke University. Ryan went on to complete a second Masters in Theology from Cambridge University and a PhD from Oxford University.

 

Ryan was founding director of the Trinity Forum Academy – a Christ centred, residential  internship program for graduates that specialised in course work relating to theology and cultural engagement.  He also served as lead writer for the Heritage Foundation where his work specialised in how faith commitments impact upon political life to improve public policy. Ryan’s work has been published in many major newspapers, magazines and media outlets including The Washington Post, The Australian, FoxNews.com, Crosswalk.com and First Things.  

 

More recently, Ryan moved to Australia and has been the President of Campion College, a Liberal Arts Catholic College in Western Sydney.    

 

Ryan is married to Karin and has three children Joshua, Christopher and Katie, who will be attending Citipointe College.  

 

It is with great anticipation and expectation that we welcome Dr Ryan Messmore to CHC and pray for a season of incredible favour and blessing as we cultivate the new work of the Millis Institute.

 

Ryan commences at CHC on the 8th  of  January 2015.

 

ACS is delighted in supporting CHC, as our tertiary member, in this appointment , and join with CHC in welcoming Ryan, Karin, Joshua, Christopher and Katie.  ACS has had the privelege of welcoming Ryan as guest speaker at ACS events, as well as supporting him during his Presidency at Campion College.  We look forward to working with CHC and Ryan to develop the Millis Institute.

 

 

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, FROM SORROW TO HOPE


Lessons from Jeremiah & Lamentations
from Wheaton College President Philip G. Ryken


A Devotional Guide for the 2014-2015
Advent, Christmas, and New Year Season

Attachments:
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Download this file (Wheaton-Advent-Devo-2014.pdf)Wheaton-Advent-Devo-2014.pdf 10219 Kb

Arthur Holmes in his inspiring text The Idea of a Christian College remarked: The question to ask about Education is not What can I do with it? but rather What is it doing to me as a person? Education- good higher education- has to do with the making of persons

Before you today are nearly 130 graduands - who have not just completed a degree but have been shaped, moulded, stretched, challenged, and transformed as people because of their CHC experience. CHC exists to specialise in courses that are people shaping and people making. Our degrees incarnate people making principles and are taught by an exceptional staff who embody faith-learning integration.  

In a world where measures of success and value are placed on sterile distribution curves and efficiency models of output and percentile ranks, the making of persons - good, wise, moral, truthful, sincere persons - is a truly radical thought in this pragmatic and relativistic time. The roots of a university education were originally framed around making good people about civility and goodness and honour and beauty - about cultivating minds and shaping hearts. In short - an educated person was equipped for every good work - in whatever sphere such work found expression as vocational calling. Sadly this grand story has become muffled in translation as many universities and degree programs now only clamour for market viability and utilitarian ends in a production line age.

Wendell Berry responded to such a deficit model of education by giving this advice to graduands: Avoid thinking of yourselves as employable minds equipped with a few digits useful for pushing buttons. You will have to recover for yourselves the old understanding that you are whole minds and bodies. Hearts and souls - spirit and flesh.

The logic of what our society means by success supposedly leads you ever upward to any higher-paying job that can be done sitting down. In contrast, the logic of vocation(al calling) holds that there is an indispensable justice, to yourself and to others, in doing well the work that you are called or prepared by your talents to do.

We talk a lot about call at CHC. Why? Because an education is not merely about a job or a skill set or a training program - a quality education is about people making for a life-calling. Graduands, remember that a Call implies a Caller - therefore each of you have a unique destiny and purpose in regards to a call that is individually fitted and shaped by God. Os Guinness contends: Calling is a 'yes' to God that carries a 'no' to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is the key to tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world.

 

Young Oscar Schell, in trying to make sense of his fathers tragic death and the chaos surrounding him during 9/11 in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reflects: I tried to think of each person as a number, in a gigantic equation. But it wasn't working.. because people aren't like numbers. They're more like letters... and those letters want to become stories.. and dad said that stories need to be shared.

Graduands you are, in very real terms, letters wanting to become stories. From this day forward, letters will follow your name, but far more important to us is how those letters will be become stories that will be shared and celebrated in decades to come. Graduands you are more than just a number you are letters being woven into stories. Stories that need to be shared in your generation

Maya Angelou - the gifted African American author, poet and singer - encapsulates this for every graduand with this advice:Your destiny is to find the courage to flesh out the great dreams. To dare to love. to dare to care, to dare too be significant and to admit it. Not by the things you own or the positions you hold but in the life you live.

Graduands, You leave us today, always and from this day forward as a CHC graduate, tomorrow, next week, next year and for the rest of your lives. Well done on this outstanding achievement! As you now prepare for this new chapter; know that you go with the cheer squad of CHC staff, students and community cheering you on to leave a legacy and make a difference. Consider what your education at CHC has done to you?? In you? Through you? in regards to your call? Your purpose? Your destiny? Your transformative story? And we all look forward to the hopeful promise that each of you, in some way, will be a catalyst for God and for good in your world and will be transformative agents of change in your generation.

Your letters now await the master storytellers touch. and the ink, barely dry on your Higher Education journey, now awaits a fresh turning of a page and a new beginning... as one chapter ends another awaits... turn the page, graduands of 2014 and embrace your exciting futures and destinies we look forward to reading your best selling biographies!!!! God bless you our 2014 cohort of world changers - one and all.

 

 

 

 

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