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We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Christmas is almost upon us! The high school students are finishing up their first semester final exams, and we will be heading off for two weeks of rest, time with family, and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I wanted to take this time to thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over the last 2 ½ years that Greg and I have been in Vienna. We can hardly believe that we are halfway through our third year at ICSV. It is truly our privilege to serve you and your children in such a wonderful school. We wish you safety in travels, joy in homecoming, and love to you and yours. We look forward to seeing you all again in January, 2018!

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Martin Luther and Christmas

When we were in the United States recently, my husband bought a book that was just published about the life of Martin Luther. Sounds exciting, right? Well, actually, it is. Here was a devout monk and priest who really struggled with his faith. Luther actually admitted that he hated the righteous God because he could not keep the law, no matter how hard he tried. Luther spent hours and hours every day in confession. He became angry that God would expect him to be able to live the life of faith that he found described in the Bible.

And then one day, God opened his eyes, and he saw for the first time what the Good News of the Gospel is all about. Luther finally understood that Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection accomplished for all humanity what he could not do on his own. He understood man’s sinful nature and totally embraced the fact that Jesus left His home in Heaven to become a human being in order to give us the gift of grace.

Eric Metaxas (2017, p. 97) cited Luther as saying:
God reached down not halfway to meet us in our vileness but all the way down, to the foul dregs of our broken humanity. And this holy and loving God dared to touch our lifeless and rotting essence and in doing so underscored that this is the truth about us. In fact, we are not sick and in need of healing. We are dead and in need of resurrecting. We are not dusty and in need of a good dusting; we are fatally befouled with death and toxic filth and require total redemption. If we do not recognize that we need eternal life from the hand of God, we remain in our sins and are eternally dead. (italics are mine)

As we celebrate Christmas this year, I encourage you to focus on the immense sacrifice that God made for us by sending His perfect, holy Son to this earth to die for our sins. I can’t even begin to comprehend what that must have been like for Jesus, the Son of God, to become a helpless baby, born in a filthy stable. This is not the quaint Christmas Pageant story that we picture when we think of Christmas. This is the Almighty God humbling Himself and coming to this broken world so that we might experience eternal life with Him. Wow!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

I Have a “Wait” Problem

The theme of my week, or should I say year, has been “wait.” I like to joke with people that I have a very high need for closure. If you really want me to be honest, that means I like to get things done quickly – I want them done NOW! Fortunately (or unfortunately – depending on how you look at it), I’ve always been able to accomplish quite a bit in a very short amount of time. Recently, however, there have been a number of things that have come into my life that I cannot control. Even though I am ultimately responsible for the outcome, I must rely on others to complete the work. This is really hard for me.

Last Friday, ICSV parent, Chris Elledge, came to share with us at morning devotions. He asked us the question, “What is your kryptonite?” Do you remember Superman? I used to love watching that TV show back in the ’60s. He was the ultimate superhero. But the one thing that took away his power was kryptonite. If he came in contact with it, he became physically ill. My response to Mr. Elledge’s question was that I really struggle with the times when I cannot control the outcome of something or the speed at which something is done. I simply need to admit that what I really lack is patience. When this happens, it can derail me or I become overly anxious – the very opposite of experiencing God’s peace.

So how does God teach us patience? By putting us into situations where we need to simply trust Him for the outcome. There are numerous verses in the Bible that tell us to “wait on the Lord.” Yes – it really means to WAIT! I was searching online about this topic and came across Bibleknowledge.com. There it said, “The fast pace of our world today has so many of us mentally wired, that we end up getting too angry and impatient when things do not go as fast as we think they should. That is why when God tries to work the quality of patience into us by making us wait for certain things, it can be a bit painful and stressful at times, as we are not used to doing it in the type of fast-paced world we live in today. But God will not let this work, the things in it, or the way it wants to run itself mess with His divine plans for our lives and how He will want to run our lives. God’s ways and timings are absolutely perfect – and no man and no fallen world are going to tell Him how to sovereignly run things, both with our world and our own individual lives.”

Kind of slaps you right in the face, doesn’t it? So I am learning to wait on God for His timing. I am learning to rest in Him when things are outside of my control. This is probably something I will continue to learn throughout my entire life. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14. You might want to ask yourself, “what is my ‘kryptonite’?”

Have a wonderful three-day weekend with your families!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Apologetics–Apology or Defense?

You may be wondering what we do every month when your students have a half-day on a Wednesday. We’re not just taking a few hours to catch up a sleep, although that sounds really good. We’re not using the time to get caught up on grading papers, although I’m sure the teachers would readily like that, too. So what are we doing?

This year we have begun a focused time of professional development for our faculty and staff. Miss Christine Sipos has been appointed Assessment and Curriculum Coordinator, and she has been working with the division principals to provide training to the teachers on various topics, such as the use of standardized test scores to inform instruction, student-centric learning, and apologetics. This week, the entire staff spent Wednesday afternoon learning about how to answer the students’ questions about the Christian faith. And our students ask some great questions!

Here at ICSV we want our students to ask the deep questions about life and about our purpose in life. We want them to leave school knowing what they believe and why they believe it. We want them to have a good understanding of who they are and why they were put on this earth in the first place. These are difficult topics, even for adults. And so we invited Dr. Christian Hofreiter, the Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries here in Austria, to share with us on this topic.

This week I ask you, do you know what you believe? Do you know why you believe it? If your children asked you the tough questions about life, would you be able to answer them? If you would like to learn what Dr. Hofreiter shared with our staff this week, please go to the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries website at www.rzim.org. I encourage you to check out some of the articles there, read the free online magazine, or listen to some of their podcasts. It’s never too late to find answers to life’s questions.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director