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July 31

Monday, 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.