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Inspiring, Bold and Courageous Commencement Speech by Tate High School Salutatorian Lauren Kirkland
It is an exciting time of year as another school year comes to a close and graduation ceremonies are beginning to happen. Whether someone is graduating kindergarten, high school, or college, it is a time of celebration. It has been said that the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity. Lauren Kirkland did exactly that. As the Salutatorian for the graduating senior class of Tate High School, she boldly declared the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of her fellow seniors, administrators, and full audience.
Kirkland composes herself very well as she recognizes her fellow seniors and all of the administration present. What is even more encouraging is her acknowledgement of the Lord; “I’d like to give thanks to my God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, I would be nothing and nothing real would ever happen in my life. My life would have no substance.” It isn’t a high school graduation without remembering all of those difficult moments and classes over the last four years. Or as Kirkland expresses, “when we were in Ms. Gray’s class trying to figure out her graphs”, or her American Government class. It was authentic and encouraging as she expressed her enjoyment of her fellow students, “We may have wished much of this time away but I hope you all know that time spent with you has not been wasted.”
As Kirkland also shared the concluding remarks as well, her bold statements for the Gospel continued! “I wanted to share with you guys what I thought was most important.” She continues to quote the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, “May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world, neither circumcision, or uncircumcision means anything.” What is so beautiful is how she brought this point home to her own reality as a graduating senior and to her graduating class. “My hope is that I never boast in any worldly thing but only boast in the fact that Christ had redeemed me.”
With her final words, she encourages her graduating class to seek that which she believes is most important, “I dare you all to pursue true truth; a truth I know is only found in Jesus Christ. I dare you to pursue holiness, righteousness, and excellence. I dare you to give all glory to God, for He deserves it.” Thank you Lauren Kirkland for seizing the opportunity of being bold for the Lord!
Kirkland is another demonstration of what the Lord is doing in this generation. It is so encouraging to see this generation hungry for the things of God and to be bold for Jesus. See the full speech from Kirkland, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: graduation, commencement, graphs, government, glory, gratitude, courage, and celebration. John and Steve shared in this segment.
Life on the Edge: The Most Critical Decade of Your Life, James Dobson –
For those graduating seniors, it is a time of celebration. One season is coming to a close and another is beginning. What some may not be aware of is the significance of this season in one’s life. According to James Dobson, author of Lifeon the Edge, the decade of 16 to 26 is the most critical decade of your life.
When enduring this season, we may not understand the importance and gravity of the decisions and choices that are made in this decade. As Dobson expresses in this book, it is here when we make financial decisions, relational, and educational decisions that will affect us, whether good or bad, for the rest of our lives.
In the many trials and seasons of life, it is very easy to get off the trail without purpose and vision. We are better equipped to navigate these difficult scenarios when we get wisdom; when we get understanding, as Proverbs encourages us to do. But, we cannot do this on our own. How much easier would these moments be if we had the wisdom and experience of those who have been there before to help us? It is better to borrow wisdom than to have to buy the wisdom ourselves.
When we realize that our lives are not an accident, but that we are individually part of God’s plan, we begin to see the life that we are given, in an entirely new light. If we don’t like where we find ourselves today, we have the power to change that. The reality is, today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do with it?
When we drive in our cars, the rear-view mirror is much smaller than the windshield. That’s because we were not meant to drive by focusing on the rear view mirror. What is in front of us is more important than what is behind us. It’s the same for our lives. Deciding today to live for the fullness of Jesus Christ is never too late. By understanding how short and how fragile life is, we will not want to waste this life that we’ve been given.
Allow this word to greatly encourage you as you’re reminded of the importance of our decisions, how what we do has significant impact on the rest of our lives, how to seize the life that we have been given, regardless of how old we may be, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: life, eternity, decision, responsibility, experience, mistakes, regret, values, graduation, and wisdom. John and Steve shared in this segment.
Living by Grace
When we walk with Christ, often times we can begin to lean on what we have learned, instead of Jesus Christ Himself. This may work for a short while, but eventually we will realize that everything comes only by the Grace of God. In a candid conversation with others, Brian Johnson shares the importance of understanding grace in our lives.
After a trip to a Tractor Supply Store, Johnson was now the proud owner of 14 baby chicks. Surprisingly enough, 9 months later he had 12 roosters. Even in the infancy stage of their lives, roosters are excessively confident of who they are. Maybe too confident. “They walk around like, I’m awesome. But, even to a cat, that could eat it…They are so confident in who they are.”
This is the same paradigm that resembles the life of Peter. Peter boasted in the fact that he wouldn’t deny Jesus. “Confident in his ability, instead of acknowledging his weakness, he chose to cling to the illusion of strength; and then a day later, denied Jesus.” How many times have we found ourselves in similar situations? It is here that we realize it not by strength. It is only by grace. As Johnson continues, “Men impress other men with our gifts and our successes and our great exploits…he wants to impress God; we must step into the realm of limitless faith in God alone.”
Be encouraged as you are reminded of the importance of God’s grace in our lives, how to live in that revelation of grace, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: chickens, roosters, pride, humility, grace, pain, difficulty, sickness, testing, hardships, and crisis. John and Steve shared in this segment.
Arts and Entertainment Done RIGHT- Sight and Sound Theater Bringing the Bible to Life
Every culture can be seen in seven different areas, or also described as ‘Mountains of Influence’ Education, Family, Religion (Church), Government, Business, Media, and Arts & Entertainment. We have seen significant advancements in areas such as media when we look at the growing impact of Christian titles in the Box Office. The trends that have been experienced within the Media Mountain are beginning to be experienced in the area of Arts & Entertainment. “Sight & Sound Theatres” is being described as a “Christian Broadway” and it is turning heads.
Located in Branson, MO and Lancaster County, PA, Sight & Sound attracts about one million people every year to witness the stunning and dazzling storylines of production originated straight from the Bible. In a behind-the-scenes look, one can see the immense detail and comprehensive work that goes into just one production. As co-creators, Josh Enck and Matt Neff share, “It’s interesting and fascinating that the Lord would pick two dairy farmers from Lancaster County, to build a theatre in the middle of a corn field, in Amish Country, and produce Bible stories; and people will come.” Forty years, later and Biblical storylines as Samson and Moses are a reality that all audiences can see.
How beautiful would it be to have productions like these in every single state in America!? For the next vacation, take your family to the next Sight & Sound production that everyone will enjoy. See more from the behind-the-scenes footage, the trailer to Moses, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: acting, producing, thespian, family, and encouragement! John and Steve shared in this segment.