Graduation

 
 
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This week we celebrate graduates and look at how challenges don’t have to define us.  Tune in to celebrate with us! Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

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OPENING:Class of 2020, congratulations!  You’ve made it!!! Honk for the class of 2020… We are so glad you all decided to join us today
have faced a senior year unlike anything anyone has ever faced
-the whole world turned upside down by not having toilet paper -held your prom on street corners -missed out on a lot things
I want to say how deeply sorry I am for all of that But also want to say nothing can steal this moment from you of moving forward..

ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever been white water rafting?  It’s one of my favorite things ever.  Somewhere, I have a pic of me white water rafting, I’m in the front of the boat, holding a rope because they didn’t have enough oars for me, and I look like I”m riding a bronco.  It was awesome…
Here’s the deal with white water rafting – it’s almost all smooth and easy, but when the rapids come, they hit hard and they are scary…
Listenas much as I want to say the last major trial of your life, what I know is, it won’t be.  There are more rapids coming
-on the horizon – difficulties and hardships. 
trials to overcome and hurdles to jump, triumphs to savor. 
all of Human History is this way. Humans were created to be overcomes.
Question for you will be, how will you meet those challenges…-quick story of a guy who was an overcomer, met challenges head on
-Benaiah, head of King David’s body guard – eventually led entire armyunder Solomon.  before all of that, Benaiah proved himself under difficult circumstances…
Listen1 Chronicles 11:22-2322 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 23 And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.
battle scenes – valiant -fought off two of the toughest guys you’ve ever seen -killed Lebron James sized guy with his own spear
He was a beast
But did you hear the little sentence in there about a lion? – Benaniah, went down into a pit, on a snowy day and killed a lion…
What?  Who do you have to be to go down into a pit to kill a lion?
not just any day, but a snowy day, footing isn’t going to be sure…
Here’s what it tells me about BenaiahHe was an overcomer-wasn’t afraid when challenges    -met them head on
didn’t run He fought -We all have a choice – fight or flight
I’m telling you There is going to be a scenario in your life that is going to come up -feel like a lion in a pit on a snowy day    -going to be scary    -going to feel like it could take you down    -going to feel overwhelming
And I’m telling you, you have two responses -You can either fight or flight
Choose to be the one who goes down into the pit to slay the lion -or you can be the one who runs from it.. -don’t write stories about the person who ran
Be the kind of person who stands and fight even when difficult. So, how do you get through those moments, because pep talks aren’t enough when the chips are down…
One of the things that has gotten me through those tough times in my life has been to remember another person from the scriptures who fought through incredible circumstances to overcome.
The night Jesus was betrayed, He was alone with His friends, soldiers came to arrest him and everyone abandoned him.  It was the lowest it could be…
Everything looked like it was a complete loss -He had died, everything was over, 3 years of these guys lives just gone in an instant…
But it wasn’t over… It wasn’t the end God wasn’t done
Luke 24:1-5On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 
it was over, Jesus had gone into the pit with the lion of death and it looked like it was over, but it wasn’t over He conquered death!  He defeated it
Jesus overcame death itself to have a relationship with you and with me…
The reason I’ve been able to overcome terrible circumstances in my life is because I don’t have to do it alone…
I follow the true overcomer, the one who makes Benaiah look like a Freshman on the first day of school!
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:One of the reasons you can make it through white water rafting is that you go through it with someone who has traveled the river before and knows when to paddle and when not to.  They tell you when to paddle forward and when to back paddle – they get you through it…
One of my favorite things about following Jesus is He’s gone through it… My greatest hope for you guys is that you will turn to Him as a guide in your life.  That when you face challenges, and you will face challenges, that you will remember, you don’t have to face them alone.

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