Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NIV)
Have you noticed that the leaves on some trees are starting to change colour and the days are getting shorter and the nights are becoming cooler? This is a sign that Autumn has definitely arrived. And what do a lot of us do when the seasons alter in this way? Well, we make a hot drink and head for the couch with an enjoyable book or magazine to read? If this sounds like you, then read on because I have some great news for you!
I am delighted to announce that next week all 2018 NCS families will receive their free copy of our inaugural school magazine! We have quite deliberately called this magazine ‘Celebrate 2018’ and, as the name suggests, the pages highlight an amazing variety of special events that are worthy of celebration. I can confidently state that this publication promises to be an excellent ‘read’ so get ready to put on the kettle, pour the hot Milos and sit down as a family to read about our year in review. If you would like to purchase additional copies of the magazine (only $15 each) you can do so using this form.
While I am referring to next week, I would encourage all members of our NCS ‘family’ to remember our Years 11 and 12 HSC students in your prayers as they sit for their Preliminary Examinations to be held from Wednesday to Friday. Please pray for good health leading up to the exams and for the ability to recall information and to answer questions in a clear and relevant manner. But, more than this, please pray that they will each seek God’s guidance and direction throughout this entire process.
This fortnight’s NCS Bytes will be our final edition for Term 1 and it is hard to believe that there is only one week of this term remaining. However, last Friday was, in fact, the final day at NCS for Linda Giesa. Linda is an exchange student from Germany and she has spent the past ten weeks at our school as a member of our Year 11 class. It has been a great pleasure to have Linda with us and I know that she has enjoyed the wonderful hospitality shown to her by our NCS ‘family’. You can read more about Linda’s impressions of her time in Australia here.
Once again, this past fortnight has been overflowing with an incredible variety of activities but I would like to highlight just a couple that have particularly caught my attention. Last weekend, our Stage 3 students and a number of NCS staff participated in the ‘Relay for Life’ event held at the Nowra Showgrounds. My wife, Sharon, and I had the pleasure of visiting the showgrounds last Saturday to witness our intrepid team in action as they braved the sometimes wet and windy conditions to march around the oval. In fact, a number of our student team members completed over 80 circuits of the oval – what an amazing effort! What is more, our NCS team are on course to raise around $3,500 to go towards Cancer Council research and may even exceed this total as they wash 20-25 staff cars on Wednesday of next week. Great work, team – we applaud your efforts! And a big ‘thankyou’ to Mr Parker for his tireless encouragement and planning!
The other event that I wished to highlight occurred just last Friday and this was our whole-school Easter Assembly where the true Easter story was clearly presented. At this gathering, we explored the concept of ‘friendship’ as part of our larger ‘Growing Wise with God’ theme. This theme was powerfully reinforced via student-led community singing and through viewing a Stage 3 student drama performance and a PowerPoint presentation where a number of our Kindergarten students were asked key questions about Jesus. A highlight of the assembly was a beautiful solo rendition of ‘The Look’ song by HSC student, Brianna Attwood. (I would encourage you to take the time to read through the words of this song provided here.)
Mr Petts, our Secondary Chaplain, was our speaker and we learned that Peter was a close friend of Jesus throughout his earthly ministry and yet, when Jesus was on trial for his life, Peter denied ever knowing him three times. What a devastating failure of friendship!
Could Peter ever be forgiven for his failure? Could their friendship ever be repaired? We learned that the risen Jesus not only restored their friendship but he entrusted Peter with the vital mission of being the lead apostle to the early church. What is even more amazing is that this offer of forgiveness and friendship with God is made available to each one of us through the death and resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter occasion!
The words of John 15: 13 best sum up this amazing news and this is our focus verse for this fortnight. This verse states, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’ This is ‘good news’ indeed! I trust that all of our NCS families will have the opportunity to celebrate the true meaning of Easter during the forthcoming holiday period.