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  • International Christian School of Vienna is currently closed and our Distance Learning has started in all grade levels.
    We plan to reopen on Tuesday, April 14.
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IMAGINE

IMAGINE

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Well, the year is coming to a close already, and this is our last Eagle for the school year. By having two months of virtual learning, the days have passed by more quickly than normal. Even so, I wanted to bring our thoughts back to the theme of the year, IMAGINE, and our year verse, “God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine.” Well, God sure has done something this year that we never could have imagined! But if we look beyond the COVID situation, God really did work in and through us this year.

If you stop by the school, you will see the new modular classrooms now installed in the school’s parking lot. They will be fully functional for us to begin using in August. In addition, the building committee has continued to meet with the architects to finalize room placement and size, as they begin preparing to present our design to the authorities for approval. The rezoning of the property is still in process, with early signs being that everything is moving along as planned. Discussions with different financial institutions are encouraging, and donations toward the project have started to come in.

You may not be aware of everything that has been going on behind the scenes, but some very important steps have been made toward the realization of the new building. This reminds me of the fact that God is always at work, oftentimes behind the scenes. Even if I can’t see Him at work or I am oblivious to the obvious signs of His working in my life, the truth is that God is ever-present and doing far more than I could ever ask for or IMAGINE!

This summer, my prayers are with you – prayers for safety and provision; prayers for guidance and comfort. So, for everyone here at ICSV, we sign off for the year. We will see you on Wednesday, August 26, our first day of the 2020-2021 school year! We will continue to communicate with you as the government makes decisions looking forward, so please be sure to check your email during the summer. We will miss you more than you will ever know.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias

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Right before school was closed in March and we all had to go into isolation, we were privileged to host the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) team at ICSV for the Secondary Spiritual Emphasis Week. On Friday, March 6, we partnered with the Vienna Christian Center for an evening event called Reboot! RZIM is a global team of speakers that challenges its listeners with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a May 20 blog, John Stonestreet of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview described their ministry this way: “Christian faith can take the shots of skeptics, cynics, and cultural forces and still emerge as true and beautiful and good.”

Why am I talking about this today? Because Ravi Zacharias just passed away. He found out in March that he had untreatable cancer, and within two months, he was gone. When I heard this news, I decided to find out the story of his life. I did not realize that Zacharias was a skeptical 17-year-old when he heard the words of Jesus from John 14:19, “Because I live, you also will live.” You see, he grew up in a family where it was expected for the children to all be outstanding scholars. Zacharias did not do well in school, but instead enjoyed sports. When he was 17, he made the decision that he was such an embarrassment to his family that it would be better if he killed himself, which he tried to do. He took poison, but was found and taken to the hospital, where a local Christian worker brought him a Bible. This Christian told Zacharias’s mother to read to him the book of John, which contains this verse.

Zacharias explained that what turned his life around was that he could now look “at life through a window of meaning. And that was the one thing [he] had been desperately longing for: meaning.” Zacharias went forward to become one of the world’s leading apologists and evangelists. Alistair McGrath describes his ministry this way: “Zacharias’s approach was to demonstrate that Christianity makes rational sense on the one hand, and is able to offer deeply satisfying existential answers to life’s grand questions on the other.”

In a world where absolute truth is not accepted and where everything is viewed as relative, Christianity offers a faith that provides us with meaning in life and answers to our deepest questions. John Stonestreet stated that it was through Zacharias’s ministry when he was in college, that he “came to realize that Christianity wasn’t just something you did, and it wasn’t even just something you felt. Even more (though certainly not less) than a personal relationship with Christ [he] was realizing that the Christian faith was, in fact, true. From Ravi, [he] began to understand the extent to which you could not only think about faith, but actually think with faith.”

It is my prayer that just like Zacharias and Stonestreet, we will think more and more with our faith. Truly, what we believe should affect how we live!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director

Welcome Back, ICSV!

Welcome Back, ICSV!

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It was such a joy to stand outside to welcome back our P-8 students this week. This building has been a lonely place without the presence of the smiling faces of our staff and students. Thank you, parents, for your confidence in our ability to follow the health guidelines given to us by the government. Dr. Werner, our school’s doctor, was here to witness the students return. She told me that she was very impressed with how we had thought through the procedures in order to best implement them for the safety of our staff and students. 

I think that a big reason so many students wanted to return is because they missed it here. What we do best is to love on and show every student just how much they are valued. Even though we can do that to an extent virtually, it means so much more to be in the presence of one’s friends in a place where they feel safe and appreciated. 

I’ve been reading a lot during this time away from school. I came across journal entries by this year’s graduates from around the world. They spoke honestly about how they were feeling about the changes that have taken place in their lives because of COVID-19. One student wrote:

“It would honestly break my heart if the school just mailed us our diploma and just said, ‘OK, have a great life.’”

We don’t want to do that. We are carefully reviewing all the constantly-changing regulations in order to determine what we can do for our students to end their year well. They have worked hard and have persevered through a difficult and uncertain time. Right now, we are planning a celebration for our graduates on June 10 at 5:00 pm at the Vienna Christian Church. Details for this scaled-down graduation will be shared by Mr. Ben Hummel, Secondary Principal, in the near future. 

So, it is with sincere joy and an abundance of thankfulness that I welcome you back to the school building! May the next month be a precious time for us all, as we are once again able to enjoy each other’s company and encourage each other in person.

Because of His Faithfulness,

Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director

Spiritual Emphasis Recap: More Questions than Answers

Spiritual Emphasis Recap: More Questions than Answers

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Last week, the secondary students enjoyed Spiritual Emphasis Week with guest speakers from the Ravi Zaccharias International Ministries (RZIM). RZIM is a highly-praised apologetics group that encourages people to ask the hard questions of life. Our School Spiritual Formation Coordinator and Bible Department Chair, Mr. Tim Totten, has written a reflection on last week’s opportunity.

Enjoy,
Sharon C. Brobst, EdD
Director

Why does God do the things that He does? Why doesn’t He put an end to COVID-19? Why do families fall apart? How do I know that God is real? If He is real, why does He seem so distant sometimes? Isn’t Christianity just a way to make people moral? Isn’t it all about following a bunch of rules? What happens to people who die having never heard of Jesus? What about little kids who die before they could understand the gospel? What are Heaven and Hell really like?

I could ask questions for days. Sometimes, God seems like a mystery, and sometimes, He really is one. I’ve been following Jesus for over 20 years, experiencing highs and lows while journeying closer to our Creator. There have been times where I really thought I understood God well, and there have been other times where I’ve felt like it was impossible to know much of anything about God. I’ve had my doubts. I’ve wanted to give up. Thankfully, by the grace of God, this hasn’t happened. 

The more I pursue God, the more I know Him. The more I know God, the more questions I have about Him. I guess this is what happens when following an infinite being.

Asking big questions about life, faith, and God is something we challenge our students to do on a regular basis at ICSV. Last week, we were privileged to host a team of speakers from various parts of Europe for our middle and high school spring Spiritual Emphasis Week. Most of our guests are currently doing PhD work in various fields, and they are all connected to Oxford and a well-known apologetics ministry (RZIM). They ran workshops for students during Bible classes and led daily chapel services centered around some of the big questions many people have about God. Students had opportunities to ask tough questions and discuss big issues throughout the week.

SEW concluded with an event known as Reboot, where Professor John Lennox, renowned speaker and author of several books on science, philosophy, and religion was the keynote speaker. We partnered with RZIM and Vienna Christian Center to put this on, and we saw around 500 young people attend, including many of our students.

Even after a week like this, our students still have unanswered questions. But who doesn’t? We had some incredible conversations and saw God working in the lives of many people. Faith is a journey, and people are further along on that journey now than they were before. We praise God for that.

And you. You might have more questions than answers. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

I do too.

Tim Totten
Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Bible Department Head 

 

Control

Control

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I learned a new song a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Reynolds led us in worship on Friday morning, and he introduced us to a song called “Control.” It’s a song about how God loves us so much that He uses us even when He doesn’t need to. The first verse of the song says, “Though I’m not entitled, still You call me Your child.” 

Entitled…That’s a word that I’ve heard a lot throughout my career in education. If you Google the definition, it says, “believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” The example given says, “kids who feel so entitled and think the world will revolve around them.” 

I never really viewed myself as “entitled.” I grew up in the house provided for us by the church. It wasn’t in the best part of town, and we didn’t have much money. Getting hand-me-downs from either my own siblings (I was the youngest) or from church families was the norm. We never went out to eat. An ice cream cone eaten at the park was a big deal for me. 

And yet, I realized when I became an adult that I did feel entitled. When things started to get difficult and life didn’t turn out as I thought it should, I felt that I deserved to be happy. I deserved to be able to go out and have fun. I started to question why…. What I was really doing was showing just how entitled I felt I was.

If I’m honest with you and with myself, I think I still struggle with this feeling of entitlement. I work hard. I’m pretty smart. I’m basically a good person. Right? Why shouldn’t I have what I need and want? Why shouldn’t I enjoy good health and happiness? I deserve…

If I stop and look at what Jesus says about this, everything is turned upside down. From God’s standpoint, what do I deserve? 

I deserve death. I deserve condemnation. I deserve a life of separation from God.

If God actually gave me what I deserve, I wouldn’t be happy at all. I imagine there are times in my life where God didn’t give me what I wanted because He knew that it wasn’t in my best interest. He was actually protecting me from myself! The more I understand my own depravity and need of God’s grace, the more I can accept my circumstances. The more I acknowledge the fact that God really doesn’t need me to accomplish His work, the more thankful I am that He has chosen to use me anyways. 

Control – Who is in control in your life? Are you fighting for control or have you surrendered to the Almighty, Omnipotent God who loves you more than you can imagine and has your best interest at heart? Or are you hanging onto your thoughts of entitlement, which often lead to disillusionment and unhappiness? Kinda hard to think about, isn’t it?

Here is the full first verse from “Control.” If you’d like to listen to the song, click here.

Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director