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Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Saturday, June 09, 2012


JUNE 10 2012 Sermon Notes
Jeremiah 29:11 “Blessing of Graduates”

 Wherever we are in the journey of life – whatever stage - Whether one is graduating college or high school or middle school, working through elementary school, or even in the midst of our first career or our fifth career or entering into or living through retirement,  two questions seems never to go away: “What I am I going to be?” – and its sister question: What am I going to do?” I remember wrestling with such questions at so many different moments of my life and coming up with some intriguing answers: farmer, spaceman, undersea explorer, Oceanographer, bio-chemist, college professor, husband, father, high school English teacher, writer, pastor.

 So as we are asking ourselves these two questions: “What am I going to be?” and “what am I going to do?” let us then allow the words from Jeremiah from our reading this morning to enter the conversation:  

“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.”

 “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.”

We hear these words and they can simultaneously cause us both great joy and great concern. Joy – because these are words full of promise : God has plans for our welfare, for our future – a future marked by God’s gift of hope. God has plans for us. Plans for our well-being. And that’s a reason for joy.

 Yet, these words also bring with them great concern as we ponder our being and doing – because we can fall into a trap – believing that these plans that God is said to have for us are a great mystery to which we must attend with the whole of our being because if we don’t, we might be doing something else with our life, choosing the wrong vocation, wasting our time and not doing the vocation that God has planned for us, leaving us miserable and unfulfilled. If we buy into this trap then our life becomes a journey to figure out God’s plan for us.  Such thinking may paralyze us in trying to make life choices. Leave us hesitant and even fearful. Turn our life into one long quest to figure out what we think the one special thing is that God has decided for us to do.

 As Lutherans we do not have to fall into this trap. For we believe that life is not faithfully lived in spending time trying to figure out this so-called plan that God has for our life. For we believe that we can and should serve God in whatever we are being and whatever we are doing at the moment.

 As one Lutheran theologian puts it:
“…God is already at work in one’s everyday life here and now…any place and every place that Christians find themselves…. the Christian’s task is to discern God’s will and to try to act responsibly in each concrete role or situation.” In other words, life isn’t about trying to figure out the one perfect job that God has waiting for us somewhere over the rainbow, but rather discerning God’s will in whatever we are doing right now.  

 Now this does not mean that we should never change what we are doing – new opportunities arise, new gifts are discerned, new possibilities are born, but rather that we understand that we are called to serve God in everything we do rather than spending any time trying to figure out God’s personal plan for our life as if there was such a thing. I have no idea. So I am not going to waste my time worrying about it.

 Now that we have mentioned the word “discernment” we need to talk about it.  
Our Evangelical Lutheran church recognizes that “Discernment is not just another word for deciding.”

OK? Discerning is not the same thing as deciding.

 We teach that “God has already decided. God has chosen life for the world. God has chosen us, with our unique gifts and abilities, and given us the freedom to match them up with the needs that we see around us. Discernment isn’t just about what we are  going to do — it’s not what we are going to do with our life; it’s not deciding which school we are going to go attend or what job we are going to have. Discernment is about being open, curious and attuned to what God is up to — with us and with our community. And it’s being confident that we have a part to play in the story of God’s love for the world.”


Let me say that again: discernment is about being confident that we have a part to play in the story of God’s love for the world. And discernment is a lifelong process.

Further, as Lutherans we are invited us to consider that:

"Discernment is considering what God has given you.
What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What brings you joy? What experiences, circumstances and challenges have formed and prepared you for a new thing God may be doing with you?

Discernment is noticing what God is doing in the world.
What are the needs of your community? Where is the Gospel Good News of Jesus being lived out and proclaimed? Where else does it need to be? What is the part you’ve been given to play in this story of God’s love for the world?

[D]iscernment isn’t about a decision. It’s about always being ready to ask the questions ... and then being engaged in living the answers.”

“[D]iscernment isn’t about a decision. It’s about always being ready to ask the questions ... and then being engaged in living the answers.”


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 speaks these words to a people who have had their world turned upside down. Six centuries before the birth of Jesus, the Babylonians crushed the Jewish people, destroyed their army, destroyed their cities, destroyed God’s Holy Temple and sent many of the leaders into exile far away from home. Lamenting the loss of everything, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah a vision of a promised future full of hope and blessing.


We believe that the plans of which Jeremiah speaks have come into their fullness in Jesus. It’s not about God’s special plan for our lives that we struggle to figure out, rather  it is about what God has accomplished in and through Christ Jesus and how we have been freed through Christ to live for God and neighbor at every moment of our life.  Freedom born of hope and hope born of Jesus.

 So what am I going to be? What am I going to do? Our freedom in Christ enables us to work out the answers by living them faithfully and with great joy.
AMEN!


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