July 31

Written by Bill Grandi on July 31st, 2023

The last day of July already. In my world, school starts this coming Thursday. Where did the summer go? I can remember (yes it was many moons ago) when we got out of school the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and didn’t go back until after Labor Day. Of course, that was before a week for Fall Break and a week for Spring Break started happening. That was before Hangnail Day became a national “not-go-to-work-or-school” day.  I have a friend whose wife is a teacher and they started back two weeks ago.  That is in AZ…you know the land of 100+ temps. (But then again maybe it is good since the buildings are air-conditioned).

All that to say that yesterday I preached a sermon geared specifically to young people. I spoke to them as a 70 year old (which I am) pastor/friend- who is obviously on the downward trajectory of life (I most definitely have less years left than I have lived)- giving some practical advice that I thought would be helpful. Here are the main thoughts I passed along:

1. We are given permission to enjoy life. God is not a cosmic killjoy determined to take all the fun out of life. He hasn’t told a Christian teenager to hunker down in their room only reading their Bible and not having any fun.

2. As you enjoy life, remember there are limitations. Warnings and boundaries are there for a reason. It is not because God is a prude and abhors having fun. But boundaries are there for a reason. Beachgoers who ignore the warning signs of riptides, or worse, sharks in the area, do so at their own peril.  The writer of Ecclesiastes said throughout the book, “I went after this or that and found it all empty.”

3. My last piece of advice (which you would/should expect from a pastor) is this: it is not enough to just remember the Creator (Eccl.12:1), it is much more important to establish an all-important relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son. It is good to learn skills. It is good to learn life skills.  There is no shame in being a wood-worker, a plumber, electrician, or any other skillful trade, but the most important thing a person can do is establish a relationship with the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

To borrow a phrase from Dead Poets Society: Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Live life to the fullest…IN JESUS.

And finally: Life is an Adventure…Enjoy the Ride.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Pam says:

    Excellent advice , Bill! Three tips everyone could benefit from! Your young people are very blessed to benefit from your wisdom.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    Is hard to believe that we are sitting on the last day of July. As a kid, I remember enjoying the summers. Outside exploring, swimming, riding my bike, building forts… As I got older some of those got replaced with working to make money for my first car, then my second.

    I think your three points provided a good balance to life. It can become easy to focus on the things we “SHOULDN’T DO” and label it as God’s Rules.

    I think many people (self included at times) fail to realize that the guardrails and boundaries God has put in place are not there for Him… They are not there to take the joy out of life. Rather, just the opposite. They are there to warn us of the dangers and distractions that life can often bring (or that we intentionally seek out) that can really put a wrench into the cogs of life.

    I love the last point especially… It is not about knowing about God or being able to describe Him to your friends. I can read a book about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or any other historical person and gain the written understanding and facts. I can’t have a relationship with them. I can’t “know” them.
    I can’t put my trust in them.
    Jesus, on the other hand, wants us to not just know him, but to trust him, to lean on him, to have a personal relationship with him. This is more than speaking the speak… this is about living the life… the good life.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks for the expansion of truth Ryan. You help make it more understandable. I should have expanded on the guardrails idea more but so glad you did.

  3. Sage advice, indeed, Bill! I sure wish a pastor had infused me with such knowledge at an early age. Hope these young people will embrace your words of wisdom.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks martha. I didn’t get that advice either. The school of hard knocks is a tough road to hoe. But I do hope the young people latched onto it.

  4. gail says:

    I wish when I was younger, someone would have explained to me the difference in knowing Jesus and what He did for us, and being in a relationship with Him. Growing up catholic, I went to christian studies threes times a week, went to church once with my class, and then sunday’s mass. All that time, no one ever opened a Bible in any of those classes or explained any stories in the Bible in those classes, in fact they told us to rely on the priests, we were not capable to understand the Bible. The priests never explained what it meant to really accept Jesus as your Savior. I am grateful Bill, you and Ryan talk to the kids and explain how important it is to be in a relationship with Jesus. I wish I could go back in time and fix that. The most important relationship I have is with Jesus, and it literally changes your life in a way that you could never accomplish on your own.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Maybe that is why I like Back to the Future so much Gail. I, too, wish I could go back in time and make different choices and wiser choices. But, as you know, we can’t so we have to go from where we are now. I’m glad you have learned about the relationship and not the religion.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Wonderful advice, Pastor Bill, not only for young people but maybe even more so for us older ones. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of making the very most of every moment. Your congregation is so blessed to have your wisdom, and so are we, here on this blog.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Cheryl. I haven’t had any young people say thanks yet. 🙂 But I also didn’t expect it. 🙂 And like you I see that importance as well.