While visiting us for Thanksgiving, my daughter let her dog out into the darkness of our backyard. Her 150 lb. Newfy sauntered out to do his business and was quickly attracted to a cute critter that was 5% of his body weight. “Oh no! I think Teddy has been skunked!” was the sudden cry from my daughter. She and her husband spent the next two hours in the light of our garage removing the stench from his thick coat using a special mix of peroxide, baking soda, and dish liquid. Thanks to his owner’s care, Teddy’s black coat now has a light brown tint and a pleasant fragrance. Our garage still holds a faint scent to remind us of the dangers in the dark.

We can all be that distracted dog – going about our important business but quickly pursuing something else that catches our eye. Cute and harmless “the other” seems at first, but we soon discover otherwise and are burdened with the consequences of waywardness. Who will help us? Lord, help me.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and discovered their nakedness, God himself made garments of skin for them to wear (Gen. 3:21). Only He can cover our sin. Only He can take away the stench. This was a foreshadowing of the Jewish sacrificial system to come and the ultimate price that Christ would pay for our own mess.

Good news! Those who recognize they have been chasing “skunks,” admit they need a Savior, and surrender their lives to Christ (Your desire, not mine) will be saved, cleansed, and restored. Jesus says: “Come to me all who are weary and burdened” and “whoever believes in him (Christ) will not perish but have eternal life,” even an “abundant life.” In fact, scripture tells us, we become a new creation with a beautiful fragrance. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corin. 2:15)

This holiday season, if you know you are chasing something other than the Christ of Christmas, I suggest you take time to read the gospel of John in the New Testament, pray for God to open your eyes to the truth of your stinky predicament and also to the truth of his forgiving love. “Come follow me” Jesus calls in the dark. In doing so, you will come into the light to be cleansed, loved, and led by your heavenly Father.

All of us at WCA pray this Christmas season will be one of blessings for you and yours.

Thank you to all who have given so generously to support the work of WCA! Giving Tuesday exceeded our expectations in providing operational support that, among other things, allows us to offer tuition assistance to many wonderful families who couldn’t be here otherwise. The Capital Campaign , which will provide more classroom space, is now at about at $300k toward our $500k goal. Thank you for joining us in making a generational impact! Thank you, WCA community, for praying, volunteering, cheering, and standing firm on the truth of the gospel.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.” (CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory )

Imago Dei,
Jim Whiteman
The ability C.S Lewis has to convey such a deep meaning with only two sentences is unmatched. In 1942, Lewis delivered a sermon entitled “The Weight of Glory.” To conclude his speech C.S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” These two sentences encapsulate the verses in Genesis 1:26-27, which proclaim man was made in the image of God or imago dei. Man is unique. There is nothing ordinary about his possession of a soul, his ability to decipher morality, his capacity to create, or his imperfect reflection of his intelligent maker. No man is ordinary because he is formed in the image of God. 
No one has ever spoken to a mere mortal, because all men’s souls last for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “God has placed eternity in the hearts of men,” saying that all men desire to live forever, and all men in fact, will live forever. The unconverted soul perishes eternally, while the converted soul will rejoice eternally. C.S. Lewis says this to remind his listeners that every word they say, action they complete, and smile they share, can have an impact on the kingdom. Man has intrinsic value because he is made in the image of God. Eternal glory is more than enough incentive to share the Good News with everyone. 
This is the “weight of our [future] glory,” that we might share the truth that all men are valuable and created in the image of God, so that all men may know that their sinless Savior died for them, and they have the chance to be glorified in heaven and perfectly reflect Christ. This quote is more than a reminder--it is a call to action. 
Building on the elements of art learned in kindergarten through second grade, students in grades third through sixth begin studying art history and art techniques.

Third and fourth grade students are still passionate about art. For them, art is about having fun and exploring their creativity within constraint. They learn more art history, and begin working on their technique. Students see beauty with an innocence that only a child can possess.  

Fifth and sixth grade is when new challenges begin to arise. Students are on the cusp of the logic phase of the classical curriculum. One day you might encounter the “child” while the next day it is the “teenager.” Students become keenly aware of the artwork of their classmates and begin comparing themselves to one another. This presents a great opportunity for Mrs. Ziegler, our art teacher, to shepherd the students in using words for building up one another, rather than tearing each other down.

At this stage students are given more challenging tasks which require a refined technique and deeper understanding of the elements of art. Observe this picture of a tiger that was created using scratch paper. The student was given a picture of a tiger’s face, and a black piece of scratch paper and tasked with recreating the picture. This student had to work in negative space. In other words, rather than adding to a blank piece of paper to create something new, the student had to remove what didn’t belong in order to reveal the creation within. A difficult task with remarkable results. 

Sounds quite a bit like what the Lord does for us! He scrapes away the junk in our lives in order to reveal the new creation, the creation made in His image. Through tasks such as these, students learn the importance of finding the beauty buried within and are then equipped to speak words of life, love, and kindness over one another. 

Although Westside Christian Academy’s high school doesn’t offer a sports program, students have the opportunity to participate in athletics through either their local public school or through HEARTS for Jesus Christ Educational Institute. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate a few students on their recent athletic achievements. 
Abby Kuyper (right) and Eden Maynard (left) have recently signed to play NCAA Division II volleyball. Abby played for Fairview Park High School as a starting player all four years. She will be playing for Cedarville University. Eden played for HEARTS and signed at Mercyhurst University. Congratulations Abby and Eden!

Five of our students: Haylee Billy (9th/#16), Ella Douglass (10th/#6), Lilly Thomas (10th/#13), Morgan Zuccola (12th/#2), and Eden Maynard (12th/red) played HEARTS Varsity Volleyball. Their team recently won the OCSAA state championship, defeating rival Mars Hill Academy. Congratulations ladies on competing hard and playing to the best of your ability!

And finally, the HEARTS soccer team had another great season. We want to celebrate the hard work and dedication of Stephen Abbuhl (12th/right) and Javy Ziegler (12th/left) for earning 1st Team All Conference on the Varsity HEARTS for Jesus Christ team in the Lake Effect Conference. Congratulations gentlemen!


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Alumni, we want to hear from you!
We would like to share what has been happening in your life. How is the Lord leading you? Email Andrea Poltrone @ apoltrone@westsideacademy.org with your updates and photos for our Alumni section in future editions of the Excelsior.