I’m a father of two and a grandfather of four. The most recent birth of a grandchild was this past Wed., June 6 when Kinley Lynn Wheeler was born to my daughter and son-in-law, Brant & Amber Wheeler (that was the reason for the tremor in the earth you felt). No, my feet still haven’t touched the ground yet.
Now upon the birth of each child and grandchild, it’s been my privilege and habit to preach the following Sunday morning sermon from some Scripture that came to mind during the preceding week’s glorious gifting from God. Consequently, at MoSt Church this past Sunday morning (June 10, 2012), I preached a sermon entitled A Sermon to my Granddaughter. I very rarely manuscript sermons, but I did write out in advance the majority of the heart of this one, choosing my wording with a bit of extra special care. The words of that manuscript, the words of the lion’s share of this past Sunday morning’s sermon, appear below.
Before we get to the sermon text, let me help set it up with three notes. First, no small percentage of MoSt Church‘s attendees on any given Sunday morning are grandparents or great-grandparents. We have no shortage of gray hair. Not surprisingly, a common question I’ve fielded through the years goes something like this: “How can I, as a grandparent, maximize my influence for Christ in the life of my grandchildren?” This sermon was, by example, a portion of my typical answer: “Start telling them and backing it up with your life as soon as they enter this world!”
Second, I preached this sermon with all of the children and grandchildren present very much in mind. I wanted them to overhear some of the things a Christ-following grandparent would say to them by enabling them to overhear what I want all of my grandchildren hearing and seeing as they grow up.
And third, I nickname the females in our family, but not the males. The nickname I’ve landed on for my granddaughter is “Starshine.” Understand that little Kinley has a head full of dark hair and it was my wife’s long and lovely brunette hair that I noticed first when I first saw my future wife and “Starshine” was my wife’s CB handle back in the day.
Now, the sermon …
… we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. … He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to him from the magnificent glory, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” … we have a most reliable prophetic word, and you would do well to pay attention to it, just as you would to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1.16-19)
I, Jesus … [am] the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come! Let the one who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift. (Revelation 22.16-17)
My Little Starshine,
There’s so much I want to tell you. I can’t tell you all of it now, but I can start. And I want to begin telling it to you this way, in a sermon, because I want you to spend your whole life deeply listening to and engaging sermons with all of your heart and ways. And as you hear what I say, understand it’s all coming from someone who is still has so very, very much to learn.
You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do, so live accordingly.
That doesn’t mean live life for yourself. Quite the opposite. It doesn’t mean indulge yourself in whatever you please or whatever feels good to you in the moment. No, not at all.
It means to live your life deliberately and to live it for the one who gave it to you.
It means to:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22.37-39)
Worship God. Develop an unquenchable thirst and unceasing hunger for God. Crave knowing him. Revel in rejoicing in him, praising him, and thanking him.
Stand in awe of God. Neither assume nor presume too much of him. He is wholly other. Ever remember your place before him, small like a grain of sand before a mountain, and ever personal, present and perfect. He is love. Live your life caught up higher and higher into the clouds of the wonder of him.
And so, see your whole life as worship of him. You were given life to serve God, and serving him is your life. This is worship. This is life. Let no one lead you to think otherwise.
Memorize and meditate on what God has revealed to us. Take the book of God, the Bible, and eat it. Make it your daily food.
Count success in your life not by your number of accomplishments, but by your accommodating yourself to the will of God.
Pray. Talk to God and never stop. Listen. Listen to God and follow up with your life.
Plant yourself in the community of faith, Christ’s church, and stay there, bearing shade and fruit as God enables you. Life among God’s people, his church, is your laboratory for living out eternal life. Among his people is where he put you, and so, is where you belong. In his church is where you’ll be equipped and sharpened for use by God to be fully his.
Walk with God. Pray for and summon up the courage to actually live out whatever you understand of God. Whether anyone else does or not.
Make faith, not fear, your foundation in life. And as you walk thru your life, walk by faith in God and not by sight. Never stop moving, and inch ever closer to making your good intentions reality.
Keep walking with God, come what may. Troubles will come your way. Some will go and some may stay. No matter the size of the trouble, keep walking with God. He’s the one who will see you through it.
Let Jesus be your hero and model your life after him. Make your life about living well, not about living well off. That is, live your life holy and pure, wholly pleasing to God.
Soak your attitude and spirit in the holiness of God’s Spirit, for this is the soil out of which all of your actions grow. Guard your heart and your mind so that nothing or no one can trick you or deceive you into behavior that isn’t pure.
Never stop seeking and accepting God’s forgiveness. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, failures, and sins, but run with them to God for your forgiveness.
See every person you encounter as one made in God’s image. Treat them as you would treat Jesus Christ or as Christ would deal with them.
Come to know the power of your words to others, and so, choose them wisely and spend them economically.
Become a very good listener with true care for others, for the world is very short of, and in great need of, such people.
Establish and devote yourself to healthy habits that will keep you healthy in body and spirit. Those habits will shield you from many a distraction and temptation, wrong turn and sin. And so, die daily to yourself that you may live daily to Him.
Or to put it all of this in just as few a words as possible, I cannot improve upon the words of the Spirit-filled and Spirit-inspired apostle Paul …
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5.6b)
I love you. Far beyond words. But not nearly so much as our Lord does. And so, love him so.