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Oh The Places They'll Go!

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“Graduates, move your tassels…”

Do you remember that day? Do you remember the day that you graduated from high school, college or even grad school? That momentous day where you celebrated the long nights studying, the hard days practicing on the field, court or stage, making time for friends, homework and family?

I remember my high school graduation like it was yesterday.  I loved everything about high school. I’d probably go back and do it again if I could. I loved my classes and teachers, and yes, even the homework. I loved the new friends I’d make in new classes each year, and we loved when we all had the same classes together and the teacher let us sit nearby (until we talked too much). My favorite memory from high school is playing the role of Miss Hannigan on stage in the musical “Annie”. So much fun to be the mean orphanage director rather than my usual self! One of the toughest moments in high school was struggling to find my fit with friends and figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. Life, like high school, has many ups and downs, highs and lows, ebbs and flows. It’s not the stuff that happens that matters, but how we respond and move forward to it that counts.

This world will beat down the faith of these young adults embarking on new adventures. The enemy will tell his lies of discontent and that they’re not enough. Fear will creep in and threaten to overtake their faith. Comparison will steal their joy and rob them of feeling proud of their accomplishments.

One of my favorite scripture passages is Psalm 16: 7-11. A favorite professor of mine wrote this in a graduate card for me upon my completion of college and DCE certification, highlighting and emphasizing the following:

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;  my body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will You let Your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

These words continue to remind me that even though the world will try to beat us down and break us, because of His faithfulness, because of His goodness and truth, because of His power over sin and death, we will not be shaken. Jesus’s power, strength, courage and light guides the paths of each of us, including our new graduates embarking on new adventures. The faith journey does not stop at graduation or confirmation. It continues all life long.

As our students graduate and move on to new adventures, it’s our joy and responsibility as the Family of God to encourage, pray for, and remind them that they will always belong here. When they go off to college, the military, or the workforce, and struggle with finding their fit in this world, they need to know that there are people in their corner fighting for them, rooting for them, praying for them. There are people who love them and are waiting at home with open arms waiting to welcome them home.

Please join me in celebrating this milestone of Graduation. Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Life Center is our annual Senior Celebration Milestone event. We will surround these students with prayer, reminisce about the joys of high school, enjoy special music from our senior Youth Band leaders, and have great conversation. This Sunday, May 20, at all worship services we will recognize all graduates with a special prayer. If you’d like a special graduate in your life to be recognized, please contact the church office with their name, school graduating from and any degree, if applicable. We will add their names to our worship slides.

Remember to engage all our young Jesus-followers in our midst. Go out of your way to say hello, ask them how they’re doing, ask about what they’re interested in, and remind them that you’re praying for them. Jesus is with us on this journey of faith together, young and old, students and workers.

We are confident that as the new adventure begins, Jesus will continue to walk ahead, beside and behind our graduates, and we cannot wait to see and celebrate all that God may have in store for them and their future.