Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blessing Dinner/Grad Commissioning

I just got home from the last piece of an incredible day at the Glade. We commissioned our graduates this morning for the next phase of their lives, and challenged them to step into and advance God's Kingdom with their words and actions as young adults. That annual worship service has proved to be the ideal way for our church to challenge our seniors toward a life that seeks something higher than a good scholarship or a promising career; it's our charge to them to well represent Christ and their church as they enter adulthood.

Tonight, though, was the icing on the cake for me. I was privileged to sit in a room and listen to Dads read letters of encouragement and advice to their sons. I was able to reflect on the times I had shared with these young men over the past four years. And I was able to pray with each of them individually and bless their lives as they have blessed mine.

As I left the church completely exhausted from the day, the solitude my car provided for me on my short drive home was enough to allow me to soak in what I had just witnessed. I am continually reminded of the chance I have to model God's Kingdom for my son and to pass on, as I saw these men do tonight, the most important things in life to him...matters of faith and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

My prayer this past week as I prepared for today's message and throughout the weekend has been that God will allow my son to grasp more anything else in his life the importance of stepping into citizenship in God's Kingdom. I pray that he will see in his mom and dad a willingness to set all things aside for the sake of His higher calling. I pray that he will see our actions tempered with the wisdom and grace of God that has been poured out on our lives in such ways that words are incapable of describing.

I pray that he will long for the things of God and that he will be concerned with the hearts of men and women more so than their appearance or righteousness. I pray that although he will be saying goodbye to dear friends like Aaron, Ben, Daniel, and John, that other men of God who, even as high school students, are equally committed to the cause of Christ and will take interest in modeling the same for him.

The "job" of a minister is as challenging and troublesome as any secular position I've ever held. The hours are longer and the struggles are more personal. It comes with great sacrifice and an emotional and spiritual tax that is sometimes difficult to bear - maybe even impossible to bear but for the grace of God. I never understood how much it is likened to parenting until I became a father to my own son. And therein lies the bonus...the fringe benefit, if you a life of ministry.

I get a front row seat of the spiritual development of students and parents. I get to watch miraculous and supernatural changes take place in the lives of people with whom I've spent years sharing and nurturing a close, personal bond. I get to see the power of Christ overcome that which seems impossible, heal that which is beyond repair, and restore that which has been abandoned due to lack of hope. I get to watch young men and women develop into far greater ministers in their 16, 17, or 18 years of life than I will ever be in my next 39 years.

In short, I have the best seat in the house to watch God fulfill and honor His word and work in the lives of His children. I suppose I'm a little worked up with the emotion of the day, but more than that - my short drive home took me to a place of awe and wonder at the mighty works of His hand and what He allowed me to see and experience today.

Father, for the privilege of sharing in your business I am truly thankful. For the privilege of being able to fulfill the calling I am certain that you placed on my life, I am truly thankful. For the opportunity to exercise the gifts you gave me for the glory of your Kingdom, I am both humbled and thankful. For your willingness to overlook my many imperfections and use me in some fashion for the advancement of your Kingdom, I am truly thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are sold out for you I am so thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are challenging and desperate for your promise of grace, I am so thankful. For the tangible, practical ways you continue to restore my soul, my family, my relationships, my all, I am so thankful. For the assured promise of a Kingdom far greater than anything I could ever hope for in this life, I am so thankful. For conquering death and hell and all the chaos that is life at times, I am so thankful. For the cleanup you provide in my mess of poor decisions and moving against you instead of with you - I am so thankful. For the privilege to have your banner flying in the castle of my heart - I am so thankful.

Father, my simple prayer for my wife, my son, my family, my students and their parents - is thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in our lives here on earth as it is in heaven. Truly, oh Sovereign King, thy Kingdom come.


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