Congratulations to the Class of 2023

Most likely by now, the graduating class of 2023 has turned the tassel, tossed the caps, and shed the regalia. Congratulations on this milestone and all the hard work that went into it! Our oldest graduated from high school last week and it was so special to celebrate her with the rest of our family.

There’s no substitute for the wisdom and experience gained by simply living - walking with God through everyday life and the joys and challenges it provides. However, there are some ways to help guide your thinking and make sure you’re setting out with the right trajectory as you approach this big life transition and the new responsibilities and independence that come with it.
  1. Don’t forget the people from your past who helped get you to this point. Parents, guardians, other family and friends, church members, student ministry leaders, and teachers are a few that probably make the top of the list. They haven’t done it perfectly, but most likely you have more to be grateful for than you realize. Grieve what has been hard and the losses and disappointments you’ve suffered, and give thanks for the good support and encouragement God has provided. Paul gives an example of this a few times in the New Testament, especially in Philippians 4:10-23
 
  1. Be willing to keep learning from your past. I’ve lived long enough to realize that Elsa was wrong because the past isn’t really in the past. It has a way of staying with you and resurfacing through the rest of your life. There will always be things to process, evaluate, and learn from as you move forward in life. God still has things to teach you from what’s behind you. Lean into it, seek counsel if needed, show grace to others as much as possible, and remember - nothing can separate you from his love (Romans 8:38, 39).  Learn from Paul, though, and don’t let your life focus be on what's behind (Philippians 3:13).  You can glean from the past, but also keep pressing forward with your eyes set above on what is yet to come.

  1. Let the Word, and people who speak in line with the Word, be the brightest light shining on your path, guiding your footsteps (Psalm 119:105). Guard what you’re letting into your heart and mind because all of your life choices will flow from there (Proverbs 4:23).

  1. In keeping with that thought, here are a few good resources to help be a bridge between where you are now and your future. I have read or my recent high school graduate has read/is reading these.

Just Do Something by Keving DeYoung

With pastoral wisdom and tasteful wit, DeYoung debunks unbiblical ways of understanding God’s will and constructs a simple but biblical alternative: live like Christ. He exposes the frustrations of our waiting games and unfolds the freedom of finding God’s will in Scripture and then simply doing it.

This book is a call to put down our Magic 8-Balls and pick up God’s Word. It’s a call to get wisdom, follow Christ, be holy, and live freely. To just do something.
In this collection of inspiring sermons and graduation speeches, Kevin DeYoung delivers a motivational, biblical call to young people: serve God faithfully―and if necessary, counter-culturally―in the next season of your life. Do Not Be True to Yourself includes practical advice for cultivating a Christ-centered worldview in every area of adult life, including relationships, work, church participation, and spiritual growth, making it a transformational resource for mentoring students.
Who am I becoming?” That was the question nagging pastor and author John Mark Comer. Outwardly, he appeared successful. But inwardly, things weren’t pretty. So he turned to a trusted mentor for guidance and heard these words: “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life.” It wasn’t the response he expected, but it was—and continues to be—the answer he needs. Too often we treat the symptoms of toxicity in our modern world instead of trying to pinpoint the cause. A growing number of voices are pointing at hurry, or busyness, as a root of much evil.

Within the pages of this book, you’ll find a fascinating roadmap to staying emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world.
The American Dream beckons people to spend their lives on trivial diversions, slipping through life caught up with seeking success, comfort, and pleasure above all else. But God designed people for far more than this.

In this best-selling book, John Piper makes a passionate plea to the next generation to avoid the dangers of a wasted life, calling us to take risks and make sacrifices that matter for eternity―with a single, soul-satisfying passion for the glory of God that seeks to make much of him in every sphere of our lives.
During one of my biggest life transitions, I worked to memorize this Psalm. I would encourage you to do the same. Notice all of the things the Lord does in these verses. May He satisfy you all the days of your life!
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