Back To School Service 2019

In 3 days there will be kids who wake up at 5 o clock in the morning bouncing off the walls excited about their first day of kindergarten. There will be teenagers who wake up look at the clock and realize they have to leave the house in 10 minutes or they will be late for their first day of school. And there will be parents letting out a collective sigh of relief; no more screaming kids, no more hearing, I'm bored, every five minutes.

Every year on the Sunday before school begins, this family takes some time to pray for our students, teachers, and parents. We understand how important school is in our life, and we want to ask God to be with us as we begin this new year. 

But I also try ever year to say something that will hopefully encourage and inspire our students to have the best year ever. So this morning I want to quickly share a few things with you that I hope will help you to see what God is unfolding in your lives.   

First School is about learning much more that what is in books. 

You are going to have to memorize some facts about Ben Franklin, Napoleon, or Plato. You will need to memorize some theorems to help you in Geometry, and Chemistry. You are going to have spelling tests, and book reports. But school has so much more to teach you than what you can find in the pages of a textbook, or in a teachers powerpoint. Schools are the place when you have the opportunity to learn certain life skills.

One of the first lessons you learned in Kindergarten was that the whole world didn’t revolve around you, and even though you fought that fact tooth and nail. It was a lesson you had to learn every time you were not picked first for a team, or chosen to be the line leader, or allowed to run an errand for the teacher. As you continued to grow you learned how to work in teams, be around difficult people, learn to lead, learn to follow, all of the things you need to know if you are going to be a successful adult.

You are not just growing intellectually, you are also being given the chance to grow socially, emotionally, and relationally. Your maturity will be seen not just in your ability to ace a history quiz, but in your ability to get to school and to class on time. Doing your homework and turning projects in on time. Keeping your commitments, schedules, and promises. Doing all of your school work under the umbrella of what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

Secondly, God Wants You to Model love in the halls of your school.

Everyday that you walk down the halls of your school, you are being given the opportunity to love others.  Every minute you spend on a bus, in the hall and classrooms are a prime time to model love to the people you go to school with. I know that you go to school with difficult people, and that there are people who are just outright mean. But God doesn’t call us to love people who are easy to love, we are called to love everyone, so let’s try and start with the creepy people.

In Matthew 5 Jesus says You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill can't be hidden. Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven. (14-16)

This year you will be given the opportunity to let your light shine in places that desperately need some light, love, and compassion. If you are in band let your light shine. If you play sports let your light shine. If you are in chorus let your light shine. If you are in robotics let your light shine, and if you are just trying to get through school the best you can, everyday let your light shine.

I was trying to think of some ways that you could let your light shine this year and I came up with a few idea. Maybe you are being called to do some of these things: Love means that sometimes you chose to listen to your friends, instead of talking about yourself all of the time.

Love means if you see someone who looks lost, maybe they are the new kid, so help them find their way to their class, introduce them to your friends, ask them about their old school, just help them feel comfortable.

You are going to walk into the cafeteria and there will be that one kid who is sitting by themselves, ask them if you can join them for lunch.

If you have friends who make fun of you because you are respectful to your classmates and teachers, then let’s find you some new friends. I Know that High School is minefield but you will never regret treating others as you would want to be treated.

Finally, The worst thing you can every forget is your true identity.  

There are going to be lots of things you forget this year, you will forget to get that permission slip signed, you are going to forget your lunch or your lunch money, you are even going to forget the answers to some of the questions on a pop quiz.

But the worst thing you can do is forget who you are and become known by what you do. Folks will try to reduce you to being a cheerleader, or a ball player, or a band member, or an A student, or whatever. But none of those thing describe who you actually are. You are not defined by what you do or don’t to. You are much too complex and wonderful to simply be defined by what you choose to participate in or choose not to participate. You are defined by the fact that you are a child of God who has been freed, forgiven, loved, and accepted by God.

You will never find lasting value by being on Varsity.

You will never find your purpose by being a cheerleader.

You will never find the meaning to life no matter how many clubs you are a part of.

You won’t find your deepest joy by making the Honor Roll.

You can’t allow your life to be wrecked because you are on JV or didn’t make the team.

You can’t allow the fact that you aren’t popular or accepted by the in crowd to wreck your year.

Who cares if you didn’t get asked to the dance. Trust me, you won’t mope around your house when you are 40 because you didn’t go to homecoming. Being popular is not a bad thing, it just has no eternal value; it doesn’t last.

The only part of your identity that matters is the part that lasts, and that’s your identity found in Christ.

I want you guys to make the most of this year.  Don’t waste it.  Enjoy what God has allowed you to do, make the most of your opportunities, but remember to invest in the things that will truly last. Represent Jesus as you interact with others. Be faithful to Jesus as you make your decisions, both the big ones and the seemingly insignificant ones.

This morning we are going to spend some time together praying for our students, our teachers, staff, and our parents. But before we do that, I want us all to offer a blessing for our children, so if you will look at the screens, your part will on the slides with the white background. If we could have our students please stand and let’s go through this liturgy together. 

Elementary Students:
We pray that the Lord will bless your paper and your pen. That you will know His blessing as you learn math, science, and English.

May you find friends who will encourage and support you as you study and play You will remember how much we love you every day of this school year.

All: We pray that like Jesus you will grow in wisdom and in stature. That you will please God and the people who know you.

Middle School (Jr. High) students:
As you make your way down the halls and you move from class to class We pray that you will allow God to guide your footsteps.
Watch over your the words you say; speak words of love and kindness.  Open your eyes and ears to see and hear God’s presence in your life. 

All: We pray that like Jesus you will grow in wisdom and in stature. That you will please God and the people who know you.

High School Students:
In every subject you undertake may God's excellence be shown! You have been called to be a light, so allow His love to shine through you.
We pray that you will feel God’s courage and strength in your life as you go throughout the day And that you will share His love and acceptance to everyone you come in contact with.


All: We pray that like Jesus you will grow in wisdom and in stature. That you will please God and the people who know you.

College Students:

You are about to be introduced to new ideas, that are exciting and grab your attention. We pray that you will always seek first God’s wisdom.

You are about to be introduced to new people who will influence, frustrate, and inspire you. May every interaction enable you to grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually.   

All: We pray that like Jesus you will grow in wisdom and in stature. That you will please God and the people who know you.

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