Your Voice: Wisdom for the graduate’s next chapter

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Your Voice: Wisdom for the graduate’s next chapter

Congratulations, graduates, on reaching the magnificent milestone of receiving your hard-earned diploma. You are now launching a new chapter.

You have before you a blank canvas on which to chart a course as you move along life’s journey. That’s why it’s important to choose the right course and make wise decisions.

You will receive many words of counsel. Humorist Erma Bombeck said, “When your mother asks if you want a piece of advice, it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

Proverbs 3 records a conversation between a wise father and his son. This devoted dad pours into his son’s life the wisdom of God.

“My son … trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:1a, 5–7).

This input calls you to rely totally on God. Don’t move forward without God. Trust God and you’ll enjoy peace and fulfillment.

You have probably received enough counsel to write a book. If you do, also include these nuggets:

Remember who you are and whose you are.

While still living at home, if I went off with friends, my Mom’s parting words usually were, “Remember whose little boy you are.” Well, I wasn’t a little boy at that point, but she reminded me to remember my raising. I knew the difference between right and wrong, so I should do right.

Also, I claimed to be a Christian. I belonged to God. I needed to act like one of His children.

Set your sights high and don’t let disappointment deter you.

Be resilient when the road is bumpy. Learn from failures and persevere. Perseverance is staring down the temptation to quit and moving forward despite obstacles and difficulties.

Choose your friends wisely and be careful with whom you run.

“The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).

Growing up, I often heard, “Birds of a feather flock together. If something happened when you were there, then you will be accused whether you are guilty or not.” Avoid “guilty by association” by being careful whom you choose to be your friends and what situations you place yourself in.

David Chancey.

There’s much truth to the adage, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”

Every day decisions are important, whether big or small.

The choices you make may affect the rest of your life: whether to participate or not, whether to give in to peer pressure or stand firm, whether to hang around or flee from evil.

Pastor J.D. Greear wrote, “One of my mentors in college told me ‘For most decisions in your life it’s not the big dreams you dream but the small decisions you make.’”

Be kind. Always.

Everyone is struggling with something. I was traveling south on Atlanta’s downtown connector and noticed the iconic Corey Tower standing above the I-20 and I-75/85 interchange projecting “Be Nice” on its 2,000-square-foot digital screen.

What a timely word for hurried drivers who sometimes show impatience and even road rage. Yet it’s a good word for life. Kindness does not show weakness; it shows a caring heart that considers others.

Live with thanksgiving.

A sweet senior lady I once worked with often told me “It’s always appropriate to say thanks!” She said it never goes out of style to write a thank you note. Plus, we have so much for which to be thankful. Never take your blessings for granted.

Cultivate a life of generosity.

Be a giver, not a taker. Find ways to bless others. “The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25).

Continue developing your spiritual life.

Never desert your spiritual roots and keep growing closer to God day after day. Read your Bible daily. Go to church weekly. Get involved in a local church in your college town. Start tithing now. Develop your prayer life. Don’t leave God behind as you move on to new adventures.

The big question is, will you apply these wise words to your life?

EDITOR’S NOTE — David L. Chancey serves as pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Check out his other columns at This column was originally published by The Citizen.

Discipling college students

To execute fruitful discipleship among college students, churches must be willing to develop flexible strategies. Some tips:

  1. Students may not know and live the basics of the faith.

Every college minister must know the spiritual climate of his or her students and be willing to adjust any and all efforts to better meet their needs.

  1. Students are most likely not available for discipleship.

Discipleship plans made without understanding the life and schedule of a college student are bound to be fruitless.

Many arrive on campus under considerable pressure from their parents, and much of their schedule is determined by others to help advance them professionally. Most feel exhausted by all that is scheduled for them, so they find little desire to schedule much themselves.

Herein lies both a problem and a solution.

Adapt to situation

Most students won’t fit nicely into a discipleship strategy; however, a church that can coach students to manage their lives and schedules well opens the door to discipleship.

Fruitful young adult discipleship contains structure in vision but flexibility in execution.

Students may go home two weekends out of the month, but they will want to talk through the dissension in their family first thing Monday morning, an opportunity for discipleship.

Students will forget, slack off and even fail, but if they do all these things in the context of a church that understands them, discipleship can be fruitful.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Cole Rogers and the full version was originally published by Baptist & Reflector.

Let us thank God for all the ordinary Christians who daily love their neighbors and live by faith in the resurrected Christ.

They are the secret and sacred agents in the Kingdom of God. The world will never know them, and it’s much better that way. They work openly, yet in secret, in small acts of self-sacrifice that subvert the reigning egocentric ethos of a world saturated with emotion and dry of truth.

They consider others more important than themselves. They make it their ambition to lead quiet lives. And they raise their children to believe a life well lived is in the pursuit of serving others.

They daily pray, confess their sins and cast themselves upon the mercy of Christ. He forgives and raises them up to forgive others, to show mercy, to speak the truth in love.

No one will reward them or applaud them. Nor do they seek such recognition. They are simply living as children of God, content with His approval in Christ. Their lives are an ongoing doxology whispered in holy anonymity while passing through this dying world on the way to resurrection.

Chad Bird (@birdchadlouis)
via Twitter

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”

Elisabeth Elliot
“Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control”

An observation I’ve noticed on teen and young adult parents and church involvement … extracurricular activities and busyness [are] the driving force of the calendar vs. church engagement. They disengage from community, Bible reading and service because what little they have to give after work, family time, practices and games/performances leave them with little to give. …

The hope of “bringing them to church” is with good intentions [better choices, better friend groups] instead of fostering a relationship with Jesus. … Their kids fall away. They fall away. And it shows the focus was never on God in the first place.

Guilt, grief, shame, even anger define the empty nester phase as they watch their children struggle to ‘come back to Jesus’ again, while doubting their own standing.

What we model and prioritize when they are in our home is equally important to what we model when they are out of the home.

Parents of all ages, the best thing you can give your kids is a heart and life leveraged for King Jesus and His Kingdom. It’s not too late [to start].

via Twitter



Surgeon General reports loneliness is a major problem in America. One of the advantages of the Christian lifestyle is spending quality time together, in worship and often in community service projects. If you are experiencing loneliness, give church another chance.


I still remember the first day I ever heard the words to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” … I found myself strangely compelled. … I couldn’t say I fully understood what those words meant yet somehow I felt I knew something important about them. They spoke of something I’d never heard before as though it was something I had always been yearning to hear. …

It would be several years before I finally gave in to the One who hung on that wondrous cross, the One whose amazing love could simultaneously require nothing from me and yet demand everything of me. This was not the first time that I’d turn my face away from Him and pretend it would all be fine.

How about you? How many times have you heard about the Cross and been bored by it? How many times have you scoffed at it? However many times it’s been, there’s still time, for now. There’s still time to follow the One who hung on it, and who calls you to take up your own for His sake. But there will not always be time.

The prince of glory died on that cross, but He will return one day as the king of glory, and He will not permit scoffers to scoff forever.


Hypersensitivity, extremism, overreaction, arrogance and hostility are all too commonplace in every part of our culture. For me, I’m keeping my head down, focusing on our local churches and doing all I can to make sure we are sharing and showing Jesus’ love to our community.

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