This is the manuscript of the devotional I shared at Northpointe Christian's Senior breakfast.
Hello! I am Joel Rodgers’ dad, and I am very thankful to have a couple of minutes to talk with you, the graduates, and parents of the graduates this morning.
Four years ago, we moved to Grand Rapids and five days, before school started, we enrolled at Northpointe. 3 years ago, the ministry we moved here for didn’t work out. Just about a year and a half ago the pandemic hit. Throughout these challenges and many others, God has helped us in so many ways, and often these blessings and encouragements came through our Northpointe family, including people in this room. Thank you so much for being used by God.
One of my responsibilities has been trying to help him understand and appreciate 1980’s culture.
Roller skating, thin ties.
and the movie this quote comes from.
If you don’t recognize this quote your education is not complete, whether you are a student or a parent.
In thinking about what to share this morning to help us pray for the class of 2021, my son, and your sons and daughters.
I thought about one truth I need to remember, I want to encourage Joel to remember, and I need to remember.
And I was reminded of a passage of scripture that points to this truth.
One verse in this passage
is a verse that people use a lot around graduation.
AND it is a great verse. The problem is the verse is so much better than what people often think it means.
Some people keep using this verse, but I know it does not mean what they think it means.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
We often think of this verse as “You are awesome, and God has planned awesome things for you.”
That is not the case.
This might be a shocker
but today, this day, May 24,
2021 is about so much more than a celebration of these seniors.
Today is a celebration of our loving, sovereign, powerful, merciful, God has been, is, and will continue working in each of these seniors’ lives.
Jeremiah 29 is written
to Jews who have been exiled to Babylon.
God tells them while in exile…
Build houses and live in them.
Plant gardens and eat their produce.
Marry and have children.
See their children marry and have children.
Be fruitful and helpful in the cities, you have been exiled to.
In summary, God tells them live life,
Verse 10 says after 70 years God will fulfill his promise.
Then verse 11.
Verses 12 through 14,
show that the blessing is not the fulfilled promise,
The blessing is him; the blessing is God.
Jeremiah 29:11 – specifically, and all of God's word in its entirety is not about how awesome we are and what great things we deserve.
It is about how awesome God is and what a great, omniscient, loving, sovereign provider He is.
It is about HOW OUR HOPE MUST BE IN GOD! That is the big idea.
HOPE IN GOD!!!
I know this is high school graduation day. A HUGE milestone in a graduate and a parents’ life, and this quote related to parenting is still a good thing to remember and a great thing to pray for our graduates.
Our goal in parenting is
not ultimately for our kids to get a great education or
to be great athletes or
to find a great husband or
get a great career.
Our goal is for them to love a great God.
Students and parents,
Good grades or not so good grades, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Lots of honors and awards or no honors or awards, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Athletic or not, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Musical or not, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Extrovert or introvert, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Big college plans, other plans, or not sure about your plans, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
Time of joys and blessing or times of heartbreak and challenge, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
I want to encourage each of us to love God more today than you did yesterday and more tomorrow than you do today.
Our blessed God, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Through your great mercy you have saved us and given us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you for Jesus Christ.
Through him, we have an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance kept in heaven for us. Hope and Life that is greater than ANYTHING this world can offer.
Help each of us find our ultimate joy in you during great days like today and during difficult, challenging times like a pandemic.
May our lives bring you the praise and glory and honor that you deserve!
Amen! (adapted from 1st Peter 1:3 – 7)
Here is a great reminder in song...