Jun 20, 2011

Some Thoughts for HS Graduates

I was honored last Friday to be able to speak at the commencement exercises for Hampton Christian High School in Hampton, VA. My niece was class co-valedictorian. Congratulations, Ashley!

I took a contrarian approach, at least as concerns graduation speeches, and began with the bad news:

  • God is not on your side (Joshua 5:13-16)
  • You're not basically good kids (Romans 3, et al)
  • You can't be anything you want to be, even if 'you set your mind to it' (Eph. 2:10)

I finished with this, reminding them that the most important thing about their future was whether they really believe that God loves them and can really bring about all He desires for them:

"You are in the same position as Joshua, at his commencement. He never would have seen the power of God demonstrated in his life if he thought that he was basically a good guy and that God needed to get with his program.

"So, the bad news: You cannot be anything you want to be. But thank God that his power and his goodness and his grace are so much bigger than our own desires and dreams. You CAN be all that HE calls you to be.

"Don’t “dream big dreams”—instead follow a Big and Gracious God in little ways, and he will do more than you can ever ask or imagine as you serve and love him.

"Don’t follow your heart to find your calling, your heart will lead you to disaster. Instead follow the Caller, who created you for a purpose that, when fulfilled, will both meet your deepest desires and challenge you in ways you can’t imagine."


  1. After watching both the Conan O'Brien and Stephen Colbert commencement addresses, I'm looking forward to viewing yours. Please try to post a video!

  2. That is SO you Prof Mike!!! I love it.

  3. Along with humor and engaging audiences, it's a challenge to offer a diverse audience a message that will resonate and leave them with gifts for their journey ahead.

    Here's an example of a storied approach to this challenge. A collage of stories is used to offer students three gifts for their journey (judgment, compassion, and mercy).