Tag Archives: Gifts

What a talented bunch

“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents…”

Matthew 25:14-15

‘Talent’ is an interesting word. For us today we use it to refer to a particular skill or gift a person possesses. For example, “John has a talent for singing” or “Jane is a very talented skateboarder.” But in Jesus’ time the word was used as a unit of money.

So it goes in the parable set for this week that a master goes on a journey and leaves an amount of money with each of his servants. The servants do different things with the money. Some invest it well and receive a reward while one, through fear of punishment, does nothing than hide it in a hole.

This past fortnight has been yet another reminder of the wonderful talents that God has given to our students. Across various academic tasks, in art classes (a wonderful example is seen below), on Sports Day, during the visit from the Australian Youth Choir, it has given this principal great pleasure to see all of our students demonstrating their individual and wide ranging gifts to the world.

As I reflect on this parable I am taken aback by our duty as school staff and parents to ensure that the young people in our community don’t bury their talent through worrying what others may think of them. Creating an environment where young people feel safe and supported to explore their gifts is core to what we do at SCS.

In a world that increasingly seems to have little value for talents that do not bring fame or fortune, it is more important than ever for us to celebrate the wide variety of gifts God has blessed us all with. We must know that God always grants us gifts so that we may use these to serve others.

May we remember daily the rainbow of gifts and talents our loving God has given us all.




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Who do you say I am?

Lovely graphicIn the gospel reading for this week Jesus asks his disciples “Who do you say I am?” The disciple Peter’s response is “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

All the school staff at Sunshine are committed to continually improving their practice and this week it was the principal’s turn to pause and
reflect on his work in the school. I thank the staff, students and parents who participated and provided feedback in order to assist me to get
better at what I do.

While I have not seen the report yet I know there will be some encouragement for things that people believe me to be doing well and also some things that I can work to improve.

It is so easy when faced with situations like this to believe that we are only what others say about us. It is so easy to allow our self-worth to be defined by the thoughts of others.

This morning’s assembly was another reminder of the wonderful gifts our students are blessed with. We saw some students receive awards for Mathletics, ICAS Science and ICAS Writing. The 1/2 students
presented their creative representations of the creatures of the oceans. The 5/6 class presented photos showing the many activities that they undertook in Canberra – these photos were evidence of a strong
commitment to looking after each other.

Even so, the worth of our students are not measured in the varied gifts they possess. To follow in the thoughts of the disciple Peter, our students are indeed ‘children of the Living God’. They were infinitely valuable to our Creator before they took their first breath and before they could achieve anything in their own strength.

May we all remember that we are more than what people say about us. We are all precious children of God and have boundless worth to Him.


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School camps are wonderful!

Photo: T Brennen

Photo: T Brennen

It is interesting to see how students react to learning in an environment away from desks, chairs and iPads. Camps provide unfamiliar situations and challenges too, which allow students to build character traits that support success in life.

Sometimes schools can be guilty of promoting academic excellence as being the central and most important goal in education. I like to think that at Sunshine we place equal importance on developing student gifts and abilities across the domains. We endeavour to celebrate those who demonstrate sporting or artistic abilities just as much as we celebrate high test scores.

Perhaps even more importantly we endeavour to highlight students who demonstrate development of good character. One of the most public ways we do this is by recognising students who demonstrate the school values of persistence, resilience, getting along, organisation, resilience and respect.

This morning at assembly I had the pleasure of awarding each student in the 3/4 class an award for demonstrating one of the values on their camp. Each student at some stage over the two days gave me individual (and collective) reason to be very proud of them indeed.

This week’s lectionary reading comes from Matthew 28 where Jesus calls us to “…make disciples of all nations…and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you”. Jesus finishes while those great words of comfort “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.

Jesus gives us quite a task doesn’t he! To teach others EVERYTHING he commanded is quite a job but we know our endeavours to encourage everyone in our community to grow in Christ-like character are supported by a God who never leaves us.

May we never cease striving to be Christ-like people

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Greater than NAPLAN scores

Ein Gedi Waterfall, Israel (Photo: T Brennen)

Ein Gedi Waterfall, Israel (Photo: T Brennen)

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life..
– John 14:5-6
It is a well known fact that the earliest Christians were known as ‘followers of the way’. It almost sounds like a cult doesn’t it? It sounds like the kind of group that might end up on the television news! I like Thomas’ honesty here. He was a very straight forward kind of guy. He wasn’t afraid to ask a question when he didn’t understand. It sounds like he was a committed learner.

For some of our learners this week the focus has been the completion of NAPLAN tests. Completing these tests can be a challenging experience. I congratulate both the teachers and students for their conduct this week. It was a very smooth and focussed experience.

Some say the measure of a school is their NAPLAN scores however I am not one of those people. We have seen our students achieve some good results in NAPLAN tests in the past – in fact, 100% students who attempted the test last year were above the required national level. However, I don’t think that following the ‘way’ of thinking that high NAPLAN scores alone will lead our students to success in life.

As a school we seek to develop our students across all areas. Our mission statement reads “We commit ourselves to the best of our abilities to develop the potential of each individual; spiritually, academically, physically, creatively and personally.” This is the Sunshine Christian School ‘way’. Thus the picture below, of 4 new prep friends working together to creatively built a sand castle village brings this principal a similar, if not greater, sense of pride than what comes with high test scores.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life – he showed us how we should conduct ourselves in this world. He demonstrated great passion for intellectual argumentation but also worship, prayer, relationships, healing, helping, supporting, teaching and challenging.

Jesus sets an example for us to follow. It is my prayer that Sunshine Christian School does not just support our students to become fully developed people, we support the staff and parents to do the same.

May God bless us all with opportunities to grow into fully developed people of God.


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Significant insignificant actions

Olive groves at the Church of All Nations, Jerusalem (Photo: T Brennen)

Olive groves at the Church of All Nations, Jerusalem (Photo: T Brennen)

I am constantly amazed by the beautiful artwork that our students produce. And it is not just the principal who feels this way!

Last week a contractor was completing some work on the school when they noticed the many sunflower drawings in the reception area. As they left, they knocked on my door and said “Sorry to bother you, but I want you to know that these drawings are absolutely beautiful. They have made my day!”

Often our actions don’t seem to be that significant or to have a deep impact on others. I am pretty sure that the students wouldn’t have thought they would make a contractor’s day. We can so easily have an impact on others – both positive and negative.

At school we encourage students to reflect on their day often. It is through stopping and reflecting that the Holy Spirit allows us some insight into our actions, the actions of others and perhaps allows us to notice how God is working through us.In the gospel for this week Jesus tells his disciples “…the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.” (John 4:37)

I suspect the disciples had not spent time reflecting on how they were benefiting from the work of others! Perhaps they needed to spend as much time in quiet prayer and contemplation as Jesus did.

Schools and parents are in the business of seeking to bless children with a good education. Learning has the potential to influence a person for their entire life. We do not know today what one of our prep students may go on to achieve later in their lives.

As we consider the busyness of a rapidly approaching end of term it is important for us all to remember that we never know when we will be a blessing to others. Following Jesus’ example of humble service should be our constant goal.

You never know what flowers may grow beside the path God calls us to.

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The face of Jesus

@ Basilica of the Annunciation Photo: T Brennen

@ Basilica of the Annunciation
Photo: T Brennen

As I set up for assembly this morning with the school leaders I was struck by a wonderful display of Christian Studies artwork created in the Christian Studies class. As I looked closer I saw a myriad of drawings of the face of Jesus completed by students. It was fascinating.

One of the teachers remarked that you could tell which child drew the picture simply by looking at how they represented the face of Christ. What an interesting observation.

When I need a break from the administrative tasks of being a principal, I visit classrooms and observe the wonderful learning taking place. This morning I saw Mrs Francis sharing a beautiful story with her 1/2 class about the love of a parent for their children. I entered the 5/6 classroom to discover a buzz of activity as the students were using pastels to create representations of the beauty of God’s flowers. Right now I see students smiling and laughing as they play on the playground. These too are representations of the face of Jesus.

The reading we have been focussing on at school this week is “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). It is the face of Jesus that offers a radical forgiveness to us all. It is a face that we too should wear often.

May the face of Christ bring us comfort, hope and joy as we walk through our lives.

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SCS newsletter musing week 10

Wow. What a great musical performance we were treated to last Thursday night! It was a joy to be sitting by the side of the stage seeing the students show off their many talents and abilities in order to tell a very important story.

My thanks go to all the students, parents and staff who helped bring the performance to life. A special mention must be made of our director who led the production. Her passion and vision made the musical the success it was.

As I had a quiet cup of tea and a scotch finger (the biscuit of choice for every principal) following the performance I was reflecting on the vision God had for the world in the beginning and how the great flood ‘rebooted’ creation back to something closer to the original form. As the devotion above highlights – obedience to God is not so much about God but about us avoiding the things that can and do ruin our lives.

In the great flood God washed the earth clean and brought a new beginning. Somewhat like the waters of baptism do through the sacrifice of Christ.

It is a great feeling to wake up each morning knowing that this day is a new creation and another chance to love God and his people as much as we can.

May God bless us all.

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