HULL—The discovery of a faulty foundation and nest of snakes in his recently purchased house inspired Jason Wiersma’s series of messages he delivered to Western Christian High School students this week.
The 46-year-old Sioux Falls, SD-based pastor was the guest speaker for the Hull private school’s Spiritual Emphasis Week, which began the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Spiritual Emphasis Week is a period when the school dedicates more time to communal worship in the mornings and brings in outside speakers to share their perspectives on faith-related topics revolving around a common theme, according to head administrator Brian Verwolf.
“We connect with what’s going on in the classroom in different ways too so it’s a good opportunity,” Verwolf said.
A praise band from Dordt University in Sioux Center also came to Western Christian to provide special worship music each day.
Wiersma led three chapel sessions revolving around the idea of spiritual foundations and used his own experiences replacing his house’s foundation as an analogy.
In his first session, Wiersma spoke about acceptance versus rejection and how it’s easy for teenagers to bear feelings of rejection. However, through the cross they can find acceptance and live their lives in response to that acceptance.
His second message connected with his family’s discovery of snakes slithering around their house’s foundation.
“They were tearing it out and there were lots of snakes around the house, and we just didn’t know where they were living or what was going on,” Wiersma said. “It turns out, they were living right in the bricks because there were cracks in the foundation. They were crawling in there.”
He likened the situation to people’s spiritual foundation in Jesus Christ and how Satan — literal serpents in Wiersma’s case — can slither in through cracks in that foundation and lead believers astray.
The final chapel session focused on the need to build strong spiritual foundations, no matter one’s calling in life.
“Don’t just set yourself on the foundation on the cross and then just sit there,” Wiersma said. “We’re called to continue His work and to build our life on Him and that can look like a lot of things, but if we do it in the way He calls us to do it He’s going to be glorified in that.”
Wiersma had been recommended as a speaker for the school’s Spiritual Emphasis Week to discipleship director Karen Christians, who reached out to him in December.
“He was immediately interested and curious,” Christians said. “The more we started to talk, and the more we started to imagine what would be a great message for our students, he asked lots of really good questions about where our kids were at, some of the joys but also the struggles that we’ve just seen our kids dealing with at Western.”
She described Spiritual Emphasis Week as time meant to be blessing and challenge to people at the school and to drive home the question: Now what?
“We always pray for the clear ‘Now what?’ Not only to know what our speaker has challenged us with, but also I think the courage on the part of the student and the staff to carry out the ‘Now what?’” Christians said.
Wiersma used to attend Western Christian before dropping out his junior year due to what he called rebellion issues and problems with learning.
“It’s kind of an interesting situation were they call in a high school dropout to speak for three days to the class,” he said. “Of course, now I do have a master’s in divinity, but that’s a whole other story.”
Wiersma is in the process of founding a church in Sioux Falls called Freedom’s Gate, which he said would be for ex-felons and aimed toward reducing recidivism. He previously founded Living Stone Prison Church, a congregation that serves the prison population at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield, SD.