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Video shown in worship services
on Sunday, May 21.

Requires Flash player to view. "To the Graduating Class of 2006"
by Tom Goodman
May 24, 2006

None of our high school graduating class remembers Pong, but their parents probably do.

Our family had the video game in the 70s.  A box the size of a family Bible sat on top of the TV to run a really simple black and white program.  The game controller was a simple dial by which you slid rectangles up and down the left or right side of the TV screen to deflect a little ball and keep it from going past you.  Needless to say, video games are a whole lot more sophisticated today.  The latest Xbox gives you a 360-degree landscape of threats and targets to deal with.

But no matter how sophisticated the games get, there’s one thing in common: you learn to play the game by playing the game, and when you fail, you start over.  If there’s one thing I could say to the graduating class of 2006 this week, I would say that what’s true in video gaming is true in life, too.

The Bible tells us what God wants to do with the graduating class of 2006:

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him.
(Deut. 32:11-12)

An eagle will stir the nest when it’s time for the eaglets to leave.  What that means is that the eagle will pull at the bottom of it until the thorns and sharper twigs of the nest are exposed.  Like an eagle with its young, God forces us out of our comfort zones and requires us to try our wings.  But God is also like an eagle in that he catches us when our first efforts at flight end in failure.  He alternates between forcing us out of our safety zones and then catching us when we fall.

To the graduating class of 2006, this word is from God, and it is for you.  As you move out into life on your own, don’t be afraid to risk.  Know that you try your wings under the watchful gaze of a God ready to catch you when you fall.  Life is like a video game:  You learn to play by playing, and when you fail, you reset and start again. God’s blessings on you all!


Special Notes:

“In This Place.”  Wasn’t that a great video we saw on Sunday!  Watch it here.  Forward this e-newsletter to your friends, tell them to click on the banner and see if they can catch a glimpse of you!  It was a pictorial celebration of our first five weeks in the new Sunday morning schedule.  Our thanks to Michael Goodman and Tim and Judi Raymund for all the camera work, and a big “Thank You!” to Steve Williams for setting it all to the song, “In This Place”!

“Redeem the Time.”  Your church staff wants to pray with you about your outreach plans this summer.  Respond to our “Redeem the Time” challenge!  See Herb’s article for more information.

“One-Day I.N.V.I.T.E. Seminar.”  Sunday, June 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the MPC.  Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  Are you casting lines into your relationships?  Sharing Jesus with those around you should be a joy!  In this seminar, I will teach you how!  Cost: free.  Childcare is provided for 5th grade and below.

Links to Your World

By following their Gas-Saving Tips, these authors promise you can see hybrid-type savings without having to buy a new car.
. . . or you could just follow the example of a group of Christians in California and pray for lower gas prices.
In “Jesus Out of Focus,” Gary Burge explores our culture’s newfound fascination with the so-called “lost” gospels of the second and third centuries.  In addition to The Da Vinci Code, books by Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman and Karen King have popularized this subject.  For my money, I’m looking forward to Darrell Bock’s Christian response to the matter.  His book, The Missing Gospels, comes out in August and I’m on a waiting list for a copy.
By the way, check out the interesting conversation going on at the blog “Out of Ur” in response to Elizabeth Diffin’s entry, “Liking Da Vinci, Loving Jesus: confessions from a Christian fan of The Code.”  Reading her entry and the many responses just may prompt you to leave your own comment.
Rick Warren answers the question, “How can a service be both a worship service and seeker-friendly?”  An important question in this day and age.  See if you agree with him.

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