Congratulations Graduates!

May 30, 2009

Graduation is an exciting time. Graduation is a hectic time. Graduation is a bitter sweet time.

If life has gone the way it should, parents and children have a special bond. Parents will sacrifice for their children – their love is that strong. Yet, the process of raising a child is a process of gradually letting go. Parents are like the scaffolding around a building project. Parents train, nurture and discipline. But the goal is the finished project. The training and discipline are to be internalized. The scaffolding is taken down, although with parenting a different and wonderful relationship remains.

That letting go makes graduation bitter sweet. Your mother may shed a tear. If you parents drive you to college or to your departure for boot camp (or you name the life changing event – new job, new apartment), your mother may cry (and even your dad may get misty-eyed). Yet there is a certain pride in seeing your child make his or her way in the world. That is what we raised you to do.

Enjoy the whirlwind of activities – baccalaureate, graduation, and open house. I don’t remember one speech from any graduation I’ve ever attended including my own. Yet, those moments are special and deserve to be savored. They are markers to a wonderful transition in life.

Graduation is a transition. It leads to the next chapter of life. That is bound to be exciting and maybe even a little frightening. My advice to young people is to follow your dream. That dream, of course, needs to be within the will of God. The New Living Translation captures Ecclesiastes 11:9 fairly well.

Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. Ecclesiastes 11:9 NLT

When you are young, many choices face you. Choose wisely.

The next chapter of life will likely mean that you will be making more and more of your faith decisions on your own. I hope that you have a real faith, and not simply something that is hand-me-down. Faith will protect you from many of life’s mistakes (Deuteronomy 6:24). Make certain that you plug into a local church. (If you need help finding one, try http://www.churchzip.com.) God does not intend for us to make the spiritual journey alone.

Making faith your own will mean questions. I want you to know there are good answers to faith’s questions. God will bless the humble seeker (Proverbs 2:1-15, Isaiah 55:6-9, Jeremiah 29:13, Acts 17:27).

Congratulations graduates!

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The National Day of Prayer

May 5, 2009

Our National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 7, 2009. Calls for prayer as a nation have occurred throughout our history. The Continental Congress called for a day of prayer in 1775 as “a time for prayer in forming a new nation.” John Adams called for a day of prayer and fasting in 1798, and Abraham Lincoln called for one in 1863. President Harry S. Truman signed a bill in 1952 declaring a National Day of Prayer. The holiday originally did not have a fixed day, but an appropriate day was to be selected each year. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that amended this law so that the day would be fixed to the first Thursday of May.

This call for prayer has definite Judeo-Christian roots. Consider the following passages:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1,  ESV

 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV

What can I pray for?

  •  Pray for wisdom for our leaders.
  • Pray for God’s protection. This may include prayers for members of the military. We have several who are on our prayer list as a congregation.
  • Pray for truth and morality to be portrayed in our public life.
  • Pray for safe and wholesome environments for our children.
  • Pray for revival. May God’s truth be boldly presented and may it touch our hearts.
  • Pray that families will follow Godly principles.

The above are just suggestions. You may think of many other things, for example, we may also be praying about jobs and health with the concerns over influenza.

The instructions of 1 Timothy 2:1-2 are practiced by many Christians, but I still appreciate the national call to prayer. May our prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be for all people.


A Difference of Perspective

May 4, 2009

The two men suppressed their laughter. He was joking—wasn’t he? Or was he just a paranoid old man, even if he was about to become their father-in-law.

He pleaded, but the young men had objected, “We live in a fertile area. It’s like a garden. The city is prosperous. Our lives are secure and pleasant. Why would anyone want to move, especially so suddenly? What could happen? Why should we expect tomorrow to be any different from any other day?”

He preached of the dangers of neglecting the poor, arrogance before God, and immorality. He warned of a Day of Judgment—a Day of the Lord! 

The young men had countered, “Everybody sins. But aren’t most people good? Do you really think that God would condemn this whole city? Won’t most people be saved?” 

He continued about the holiness of God. They needed to know God’s character and His message. 

“We don’t like your holier-than-thou attitude!” one of them exclaimed. That ended the conversation, besides they were too busy for this. There was work to be done and deadlines to meet. 

With the dawning of the next day, the older man made one more plea, but it fell on deaf ears. 

As they watched him walk away, one of them quipped, “I guess this is what we have to put up with when marrying into that family.” 

The other agreed, but noted, “Still, it looks like another beautiful day in Sodom!”  

P.S. The above dialogue is fiction, but consider reading Genesis 19:1-29, Ezekiel 16:49-50, 2 Peter 2:4-10.