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The superintendent informed the gathering of parents, family, and friends that Don Pedro high School’s graduating class of 2017, all nine of them, had satisfied all the requirements and could move their tassels from the right to the left, signifying that they were now graduated. They won’t have to do High School ever again. Let the celebration begin.

A proud Dad sitting in front of remarked, “Nineteen years ago he was just a tiny little bundle I held in my arms.” He doesn’t fit into those arms anymore. It would be comical to see that graduate hop into his Dad’s arms. It would be tragic if had not grown out of his diapers, or never learned to walk, talk, laugh and cry, and … – if he had not grown up. Of course, at 17, 18, 19 there is still a lot of growing that lies ahead. Just because a person is as tall as they are ever going to get does not mean their heart, their mind, their character, their courage, their stamina, and … are fully developed. You haven’t learned it all by the end of High School, or college, or grad school, or at 50, 60, 70, 80, although our pride may tell us so. I pray that both the graduates and all of us in attendance will remember the principal’s encouragement to be lifelong learners, question-askers, wonderers.

Some people love school, some hate it, many could care less about graduations, but we are all headed for the ultimate graduation. The requirements for High School graduation are not sufficient for it, none of us has completed the coursework, we still have a lot of growing and learning ahead of us. In light the ultimate examination, the return of Christ, the judgment of God, and the one graduation ceremony no one can escape the Apostle encourages each one of us, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” 2 Peter 3:18 (ESV).

Last night’s graduates did not get to decide on the content of the curricula, they were the students, not the teachers. Regarding the curricula of eternal life, concerning what is required for the ultimate graduation God is the one who is the teacher and we are the learners. There are lot of assignments that make us groan, that have as wondering as to the usefulness of having to learn this, but one thing God never does is give unnecessary assignments, mere busywork, fluff. All he assigns to us, challenges us to learn, confounds us with, is designed to grow us in grace, in the knowledge of Christ, to make us better, wiser, stronger, and softer.

So, what is God assigning you right now? What is he trying to grow and develop in you through that assignment? What is he wanting to accomplish through you? Are you bringing all that he has taught up to this point to bear in handling the current assignment? Do you seek God for office hours and help when you are stumped? Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it” James 1:2-5 (MSG).

Before any High school graduation there are parents who are worried that that their son’s or daughter’s attitude, laziness, outlook, and procrastination will keep him or her from graduating. Likewise, the Apostle Paul was concerned that anyone would “receive the grace of God in vain” 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NASB), and the writer of Hebrews (12:15) warned not to “come up short of the grace of God.” The only way to do neither is to be committed to God teaching us throughout life and be relentless when it comes to “growing in grace and the knowledge of Christ.”

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

 

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Graduations, without a doubt Americans love graduations. When I first came to this country in 1976 I had never experienced anything like it. Robes, Mortar Board hats, Tassels, pageantry, speeches, dignitaries, the handing out of diplomas, it was all new for me. In the years since I have been to numerous graduations including those of my children from Elementary School, High Schools, Colleges, and Grad School. I have prayed at graduations, helped set up for graduations, and have cheered for graduates of all kinds.

Graduates have to have finished something, a course of studies or training. That’s why I am not quite sure about Pre-school graduations. What have these little tikes accomplished? What course of studies have they completed? Anyway, some graduate with honors. These are the ones who have excelled, have done more than the bare minimum, have worked hard. Others graduate by the skin of their teeth and with a considerable amount of anxiety, wondering if they have enough credits  or if they pulled it off at the last minute. Some just throw in the towel for a variety of reasons, some of them not being all to wise.

Graduating always entails graduating from (I am sure glad I don’t have to do High School over again) as well as graduating into a life with what you have graduated from has equipped you for. Graduations are also Commencements.

At some point we will all graduate from this life into eternity, “… it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV). At some God-appointed time our earthly lives will end. The question is whether or not we will graduate with honors, or barely, or not at all? Will you and I be prepared and ready, or will we be filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and regret? Will you be at peace or will you be riddled with doubt and fear?

The Apostle Paul and the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11:1- 12:2 show us how to prepare for the most important graduation all, encouraging us and cheering for us to graduate with honors,  As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NLT).

Are you on course to graduate like that?

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

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