I had the wonderful privilege of speaking at Olentangy Liberty High School’s Baccalaureate this past Thursday. Here is the notes from the message I gave:
Turning the Page—Liberty HS Baccalaureate (June 3, 2010)
As the Pastor of Student Ministries at GPCC, I have had the privilege and responsibility of casting the vision for what I believe God wants for our students. As I prayed and sought God’s direction, He seemed to be pointing back to this idea of a STORY and hence, the reason we have called our ministry, EPIC.
EPIC is defined as a “grand” story that highlights the adventures and achievements of a hero. A list of EPIC stories would include:
1. The Epic of Gilgamesh
2. The Iliad
3. The Odyssey
5. Star Wars
6. The Lord of the Rings series
I haven’t always been a reader but over the last 12-13 years I can’t stop reading. I didn’t use to enjoy reading because it was something I HAD to do. Of course, school always had us reading and not necessarily “fun” books and having a mother as a teacher meant my summers were consumed of weekly trips to the library and “countless” quiet hours for reading. Now, I always have a book on me, and though they are normally “non-fiction” books about ministry, leadership, or creativity, I do wander upon a good Fiction book every now and then. But not every story grabs my attention. To me, the characteristics of a great story are:
· Intriguing characters
· Depth and yet ease of plot
· A story that is bigger than the characters
· A deep longing for the next chapter
You are about to turn the page and enter a new chapter of your life . . . literally. The next chapter of your life, for many of you the next 4-8 years, will be some of the most rewarding and yet challenging times in your life. It is during this chapter of life that:
· Ties from friends are stretched and yet new ties are made with new friends.
· The role of parents move from parental authority to counselors, friends, supporters.
· You will determine who and what you want to be for the rest of your life.
· For many of you, this chapter of life is where you will meet your damsel in distress or your knight in shining armor.
This new chapter in your life is HUGE!! So how does God want you to handle this new chapter? Four things I want to share with you tonight from Ephesians 5.15-17, concerning how you need to live this chapter of your life:
1. Be Prepared–prepared for the twist and turns (v.15)
a. There will be ups and downs during this phase of life. Seeking godly counsel from parents, wise friends, etc. is essential during this time of life.
b. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
2. Live life on purpose (v. 16)
a. Don’t hold back.
b. God didn’t design us to live a mediocre life.
c. God designed us to live life on purpose for Him.
d. But in doing so, live for God, not for self.
3. Keep God as your focus. (v. 17)
a. It is easy in life to go with your plan, your parent’s plan, or someone else’s plan, but ultimately you must go with what God want for your life.
b. If God is not the main character in your story than you are not living the right story.
c. The most important part of God’s plan is for you to be a part of HIS story.
God desires that you play a part in a GRAND story—a story that is bigger than yourself but a story in which you are one of the main characters. So how do you become part of God’s story?
Roman 10.9-10 states, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
You must choose to be a willing participant in God’s story. It is not up to your parents, friends, church, pastor, etc. It is solely up to you. So have you entered God’s story? If not, I am asking you to please find me after the service and simply say—“So I want to be part of God’s story!” and I would LOVE nothing more to help you enter this amazing Story God has planned for you.
If you are here tonight and you already have made that chose and you are living out the story, as you turn the page and begin to live out this next chapter, make sure God is your focus, that you are living on purpose, and that you are prepared for what life brings your way.
God, thank you for allowing us to be a part of Your story. Thanks for this moment in the life of these graduating seniors where they turn the page and enter a new chapter. Yet as they do so, God remind them of their need for you. Remind them that life isn’t worth living if you are not the main character. For the parents, we ask that you give them the strength and wisdom to help their seniors in this new chapter. Thanks again for the opportunity to stand here and to talk to this group. Use them in mighty ways to enrich and bring depth to your story.