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Graduation

“‘For surely I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11  

graduation

My Social media has been inundated the last few days with pictures of all sorts of graduations—our friends in Phoenix documenting the graduations of their little ones from preschool, colleges in ministry from Princeton Seminary who finished up their course work and graduated this past weekend, and then of course right here in Miles City with the graduating class of 2014 accepting their high school diplomas this past Sunday.  It is amazing how one simple week has marked huge life transitions for children, teens, and adults across our country.

I love the verse from Jeremiah that is shared above because it embodies the hopes of graduates and the promises that await.  I remember my own high school graduation.  I remember the sense of accomplishment after finishing up 4 years of high school, I remember the excitement of embarking on the new adventure of college life, and I remember the hope of what life would be like beyond.  I don’t think I would have ever believed as that 18 year old girl that 15 years later I would be married to an amazing man, mother of 2 (almost 3) young boys, and a pastor of a church living in Montana.  At that point I didn’t even know that graduate work in seminary would be in my future.  I had dreams and visions of what the future would hold, but they do not even begin to compare to what God has done in my life since high school.  

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Memorial Day

The holiday that marks the unofficial ushering in of summer is one that pulls us away from our drive to look forward and instead to remember.

Memorial Day

Growing up, summer was magical season.  As soon as Christmas break was over, it seemed that the promise of summer was always there encouraging me to make it through each day, and each month, to make it to summer break.  Family vacations, swimming in the pool, camps, and all of the other activities that broke up the monotony of daily routine of the school year.

I find it interesting that the holiday that marks the unofficial ushering in of summer is one that pulls us away from our drive to look forward and instead to remember.  The anticipation of summer causes us to daydream about vacations , swimming, barbecuing, and flying kites.  Yet before we get to that, we are reminded to not focus too much on what is to come, at least not so much that we forget those who have come before us.

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Choose this Day

“Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” from Joshua 24:15

baptism

Many of us can name a day on which we made an important faith decision- we asked to be baptized or confirmed, we publicly claimed our faith in God.  It is important to realize, though, that this choice isn’t done in one day.  You see every day we encounter choices- they may to big or small- but they are ours to make.  These choices display our priorities and allegiances, our hopes and also how we fit God into our lives.

These choices don’t disappear when we graduate from high school, if we get married, become grandparents, or even retire.  Throughout our lives, throughout our faith journey we are given opportunities to know God better, but we must choose to take those opportunities, and not pass them by for the pursuit of some other end- be it success, money, popularity, rank you name it.  We all have other gods that distract our attention- we may not call them gods, but that doesn’t change their pull on our lives. We place our trust in them- when our trust should be in God alone; we serve their ends, when our service should be to God alone.  The choice that we face daily– to proclaim with Joshua that we choose this day to serve the Lord– is by no means an easy one to live out, but it is ours to make none the less.  

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