Cast All Your Anxieties


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My daughter Bethany with her piano awards

(When my daughter Bethany – pictured here – graduated from Grade 8 last year, I was asked to deliver the “Parent’s Speech”. This post was that graduation speech I delivered to my daughter’s graduating Grade 8 class of 2015 for John Knox Christian School, Brampton on June 12, 2015)

 

Text: 1 Peter 5:7-8a

Dear graduating class of 2015,

It is dangerous to ask a pastor, even a campus pastor like myself, to speak. Because you know that I am going to give you a sermon, right? Especially when you give me a bible text! You chose as your class verse, 1 Peter 5:7-8a – “Cast all your anxiety on him because God cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert.” (NIV) My thoughts are drawn to verse 7: “Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you.”

Let me begin with a question: “What do the Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Maze Runner have in common?” Ok, besides being best-selling novels aimed at young adults that became movies. “What do the Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Maze Runner have in common?” I think all three have the same basic plot when you boil it down: in the future, the grown-ups have created a mess of the world, often despite their best intentions, and it is up to the youth to rise up and save the world. Does that sound like the basic plot in a nutshell? Is that why these novels are so popular among your generation of youth and young adults? Do they touch a chord or a nerve deep inside each of you? Is that a generational anxiety or fear or worry that your generation feels about the future?

Continue reading “Cast All Your Anxieties”

Finding Your Self


Public Domain via Pixabay
Public Domain via Pixabay

(This post is a revised version of an article with the same title originally published in The Banner, September 2004, pp. 48-50.)

At York University where I serve as Campus Minister and Director of a Christian student club, I have come across students who struggle with issues of identity. One female student, for instance, struggled with thoughts of worthlessness, feeling stupid and ugly. Another male student struggles with finding significance in his life. These students are essentially struggling with the question, “Who am I?” It is an issue of identity, of seeking to find your selfhood.

I want to explore a biblical, theological answer to this question. A big picture theological answer is important since our specific individual search for self always takes place within a bigger framework. In fact, our big picture framework influences how we carry out our specific individual search. Let me illustrate this with a few examples of how some distorted frameworks can in turn distort our individual search for self. Continue reading “Finding Your Self”

Helping Teens Keep the Faith


Jakarta Church photo from Wikipedia
Jakarta Church photo from Wikipedia

Today’s blog post is by a York student, David Ekere. David has been involved in my ministry since the 2013-14 academic year. By his own admission, he wrote a seven page paper on “Why Teens Leave the Church” one night when he was “bored from studying”! We might be seeing a future youth pastor in the making! And he sent it to me for my feedback. Part of my ministry’s mission is to develop the leadership potential in students. Hence, I choose to empower David’s voice and passion by posting a revised version of his paper on my blog. I have to edit the paper down to a more blog-friendly length, and also changed his paper’s tone. So, here is the David-approved edited version with my brief responsive remarks after the paper.

Continue reading “Helping Teens Keep the Faith”