Students of Vision,
Rather you got on a bus this or just had to cross your living room, many of you are returning to school this week. I am super excited about all that we have planned that will provide us opportunities together this school year. As some of you will hear in graduation speeches later in this school year “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It is a cheesy saying but it is still true. We are praying for you and want to see you have an awesome school year!
On Sunday, before the Bible lesson, I shared with you these 5 thoughts to think upon as your prepare your heart and mind for the new school year. Here they are to look over.
1. Find your identity in your relationship with Christ far above anything else.
If you could see pictures of me as a freshmen in high school you would see one confused guy. It seemed that between middle school and high school the different groups/clichés of people became more polarized. I so desperately wanted to fit into one the groups. I would dress anyway, say anything, and was in danger of doing just about anything to find a group that would accept me.
Remember you are accepted and loved by Jesus Christ. Being his son or daughter is your greatest trait and identifier. You may play sports, be in the band, or have a great car but none of those things should be used to identify you as much as your relationship with Christ. Many poor decisions are made when us “pilgrims and strangers” in this world try to blend in. It hurts us and the cause of Christ.
2. Take control of your life. Set goals for yourself. Don’t just wait for them to be handed to you.
This can be difficult because as you look at different syllabus and expectations of your classes you may wonder how you will fit it all in. I would like to encourage you to take control of your goal setting. Not only do what is assigned to you but expect God to use you in even bigger ways. I really wanted to see some friends come to Christ in high school. My friend and I met 2 days a week, early in the mornings, to pray for this. The day they accepted Christ will be a day in high school I will never forget. There are many basketball games, road trips, and other events I have forgotten about but I remember that day.
Maybe it is reading through the Bible, going through Foundations, or taking someone else through Foundations you should set some goals for yourself this year. Set goals that are processes not products. I could not make my friends accept Christ, but I could pray for them and share my faith. They was the part of the equation I knew I was responsible for.
3 Take ownership of your faith. Fight for joy. Learn to go deep into the Word.
It is easy to think that because someone may be waking you up for church and driving you there that they are the one responsible for your spiritual growth. This is not and cannot be the case. Jim Elliot wrote in his journal that he wanted an AUG degree. That means he wanted to be “Approved Unto God.” If you struggle studying the Bible don’t plan your youth ask for help. If you do not understand something you have been taught, as questions. Take ownership of your faith!
4. Understand and appreciate the stage of life you are in. Don’t waste it by trying to skip it.
When older people told me this I did not listen so I understand if you don’t as well, but before you know it you will be out of school. Enjoy the stage of life you are currently in. Yes in the next stage you will get new freedoms but you will also give up opportunities. There are opportunities and abilities you have for ministry and fun in middle school that you may not have in highs school. High School students this true of you as well concerning college or other post graduation plans.
5. Don’t sail on the sea of emotions. Get a motor on that boat.
This is much easier said then done. The teenager years can be emotional years. Emotions, like wind, can be really enjoyable and happy. Sometimes, however, you need to get across the water and there will be no wind or worse off the wind will be blowing in the wrong direction. Let the Word of God not only tell you what to think about the tough issues of life but also remind you what emotions could accompany them. Trust God and lean not unto your own understanding.