Steve Ellison: Advice For the Class Of 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017 - by Steve Ellison
Graduation is an ending, but it is also a new beginning.  One’s whole world is about to change.  Very little will remain the same.  Graduates will face new opportunities, new responsibilities, and new challenges.  Graduates will likely live in a different house if not in a new town, or even a new state.  Old friends will fade into the background and new friends will take their place.  In many cases, the safety net which kept graduates from crashing will no longer be in place.
  Graduates will have to construct their own safety nets.
 
Jesus gives some wonderful advice for graduates and all of us in Matthew 5:1-11.   In verse one, we see that some people followed Jesus up the mountain.  Leaving the crowd behind and following Jesus up the mountain is always a good thing to do.  Reducing the noise in your life will greatly benefit you. It will enable you to hear that which is truly helpful. Also, the perspective is different from up there.  One can see farther and more clearly.  It is easy to recognize those who have been up there with Jesus.  Their problems are the same as everyone else’s, but they are not affected in the same way.  They have a peace and serenity that others do not have because they follow the Master.
 
Jesus began to teach those who followed Him up the mountain. He outlined the path to success.  The new graduate needs to know how to arrive at success.  Jesus began His next nine sentences with the same exact word.  Most English translations of the Bible render it “blessed”.  The Amplified Bible defines it this way: “happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous — with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions.”  It seems to me that any of us would be pleased at the end of life to look back upon a life that fits this description.
 
These nine sentences which tell us how to become “blessed” list nine positive characteristics.  If these nine things are true in our lives, we will indeed be happy, prosperous, and joyful regardless of our circumstances.  First, we must recognize our dependence on God.  Without that none of the other characteristics have a chance of appearing in us.  We must learn to mourn over our sin, realizing that we are fools to demand justice because what we need is mercy.  We must have a humble, quiet strength in order to face the financial problems, marital difficulties, betrayal, sickness, etc. that will surely come our way.  If we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will be satisfied.  If we hunger and thirst for comfort, pleasure, fame, fortune, etc. we will be worse than dissatisfied.  If we are to receive mercy we will learn to be merciful.  We must learn to forgo revenge.  If we do not, there will be no mercy for us.  If we only try to manicure the outside of us without purifying the inside of us, we will not see God.  Having an impure heart causes us to be swamped with so many problems that we cannot see anything but the problems. Nearly every person we meet is nursing a wound of some kind.  If we learn to speak a word of peace, a word of comfort, a word of encouragement, we will be loved and respected because we will remind people of God. 
 
Last but not least, Jesus reminds us that in spite of being “blessed”, we will still have problems, but we will not face them alone.  Christ has promised He will never leave us or forsake us.  His presence with us and sweet gaze of approval will be enough.  We will be satisfied.  The class of 2017 can avoid much heartache by following the Master up the mountain.

"Ramp It Up" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor, will discuss the topic "Ramp It Up" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. The Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and staff will host kids in the Metro Kidz Church. The church is at 2101 West Shepherd Road. You can also view live on Facebook or at  www.metrotab.net ... (click for more)

Mitch McClure To Speak On "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  Pastor Mitch McClure will lead the congregation in a time of worship, and prayer on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Sunday school classes are available for all ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Investigating Shooting That Victim Says Happened A Week Ago

Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital on Friday evening after a person arrived with a gunshot wound.   The injured man told police he was shot on Thursday, Oct. 11. He said he was shot while on the dance floor of a club somewhere along Brainerd Road.   If you have any information about the incident, call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. You ... (click for more)

Corker Doubtful On Latest Saudi Version Of Death Of Writer At Consulate In Istanbul

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday expressed doubt about Saudi Arabia’s claims regarding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post. He said, “The story the Saudis have told about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance continues to change with each passing day, so we should not assume their ... (click for more)

Rhonda Thurman Was On Target On The Magnet Schools

I can remember Rhonda Thurman telling the other members of the School Board that she would love to go to Las Vegas with certain parents that won the right to go to a Magnet School because they beat all odds.  She also called Magnet Schools"Private Schools" long before anyone else did.  It is truly amazing what some people won't or don't hear.  I hope some ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Inequality & The Left

The story is told about a liberal politician who was getting a room full of snowflakes all heated up over equity and equality, which is big with the political Left right now. One of his handlers finally got the chance and whispered in his ear, “Use ‘fairness’ instead! That’s what sells … “ Afterwards a newspaper column read, “The liberals love fairness because it cannot be measured. ... (click for more)