My Advice To Today’s Students

22 May

To some of the greatest bunch of students I have ever had the privilege of being associated with:

 

I truly mean that. You guys are awesome.  Before I became a Pastor, I was a youth minister for 14 years. I have seen all types of teenagers in all types of situations.  I have been, for the last two years, thoroughly impressed with the majority of you. You are polite, well-mannered, disciplined, and respectful. It’s an awesome thing to observe.

 

We are coming to the end of another school year.  And I am excited to have a chance to stand before you on your last official Bible class. Here is the thing: I never know how many of you are going to return and I always know that whether or not I return depends on God… and enrollment. 

So this is my last “shot” at some, if not all, of you. My last chance to pass on brilliant pearls of wisdom. Brilliant nuggets of truth from my ever active brain.  One last chance to have you drink from the wellspring that is my point of view on life in general.

And of course, one last chance to display my humility.

 

I sat and thought about what I would share with you today.

And I think I want to go to I Corinthians 10:31.

Paul says whatever you do, do it to the glory of God.

You see, the older you get, the more others feel compelled to tell you what to do with your life after you leave school.

At graduations across the country this month, there are tons of commencement addresses being given. They are different in their delivery, in their ideology, in their environment. But usually, they all have one recurring theme.

They are all basically telling the graduates to “do good”

That’s what they told us when I graduated high school. That’s’ what they told us when I graduated college.

But since that time, abortion rates rose.  Couples quit recognizing the sanctity of marriage and sexual immorality is running rampant. Gay marriage is on the rise.

So, as much as it hurts to say, my generation did not “do good”.

So, and I am not addressing this just to seniors (I am addressing it to all of you), I am not going to tell you to “do good”.

I AM going to tell you to “do better”.

And the only way to do better is to follow the principles of I Corinthians 10:31…do all to the glory of God.

In your life, do all to the glory of God.

You were created for a purpose. You are not just some random byproduct of some chemicals and you were not made on an assembly line.  According to Psalms 139, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made you unique and so that means, He created you or something. Most of all, He created you to have a relationship with Him.  It is a relationship that you cannot obtain on your own merit. Because we are all sinners (Romans 3:23… we have all many times dishonored God with our words, thought, attitude, or actions), we cannot really enjoy a friendship with a good, perfect, and Holy God.  That’s why Jesus died on the Cross. He took the penalty for our sinful, selfish attitudes and paved the way for us to be close to the Heavenly Father.

You cannot live a life that brings glory to God, unless you know the Savior.

In your life, bring glory to God by trusting Jesus.

In your attitude, bring glory to God.

Not everything is going to go your way. Many times, you will run into disappointments. Family will disappoint you. Role models will let you down. Friends will turn their back on you.

But each time, you are knocked down, get back up and forge ahead.

You do not honor God by becoming a victim and quitting. People may kick you but it is your choice of whether or not you stay down.

Your decisions are yours and whether or not you are a success or failure will be determined by the decisions you make. It doesn’t matter what part of town you are from, where you went to school, that your parents stayed together or divorced, that you were a middle or only child, or that you never got to watch Barney growing up. You have the ability to make decisions that glorify God and enable you to rise above any circumstance.

Bring glory to God by pressing on with a holy attitude.

Bring glory to God in your relationships.

Very few people make an impact on the lives of others because of how good they looked in certain clothing or what part of them wiggled as they walked down a hallway. Don’t choose your husband or wife based on shallow things such as looks. Look for that relationship with Jesus and watch to see if it is priority. Look for character. Look for ideals.  Beauty will fade.

When I was in school, there was a gorgeous girl. Every boy wanted to be with her. Three years after high school, I saw her again. She wasn’t cute anymore but she had grown…and I don’t mean taller.   Beauty will fade. Character that is grounded in Jesus Christ will not.

Finally, and I have to say this as a government teacher, take your responsibilities seriously. Vote.  Vote in a way that reflects the God you have a relationship with. Don’t vote on what is convenient or base your vote on your needs. Vote in a way that glorifies God. It will not always match up with your desires. Vote in a way that brings glory to God. We are in a mess right now because people voted image and not ideals.  Shallowness over substance.  Help turn that around by voting in a way that brings glory to God.

Remember the ending of “Saving Private Ryan?”  The whole movie centers around a squad of soldiers with the sole mission of picking up a soldier who was the last living child in his family (his other brothers had also been killed). They finally find him but he tells them that he will not leave until he finishes fighting a battle with his fellow soldiers. They stay and help him fight that battle. Ryan survives but the entire squad sent to rescue him dies.  The last living member of the squad, before he dies, looks at Ryan and says “Earn this!”

Many people have invested in you. They have given up time to teach you, to mold you, to love you; to watch you grow so that you can excel in life and experience all that it has to offer.

Don’t let their efforts be in vain.

Earn this!

Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God!

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