How to Live a Good, Long Life
There's an old story that's told about any a father who has two sons.
one day the youngest son got fed up of living under dad's roof. I got tired of all the rules you got tired of all the strings that were attached. He got tired of consistently being disciplined by his father because he refused to obey those rules and after a certain point the straw just broke the camel's back and he just couldn't handle it anymore. So he goes to his dad. He says Dad. I am sick of this Dad. I am leaving. I am tired. I'm tired of all the rules. I'm tired of you telling me how to live my life. I am tired. I'm just tired of it. So I'm gone. But before he left he demanded that his father give him his inheritance.
now at this point the father had every right to refuse. At this point the father had every right to say no and kick his son out of the house and say, you know what, you're gone. I've been good nothing, but good to you your entire life. And this is how you repay me. He could have done any of that. He could have had a son punished. She had left him with nothing, but the father loved his son. As hard-headed as rebellious and as stubborn as he was the father still loved his child.
I know it broke his heart. He knew this painful truth the truth that sometimes all parents come to realize. He recognize that even if you love someone with everything that you have.
It doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to love you back.
It's other father.
And he gives his son a large sum of money is inheritance.
And we can just imagine how the father's heart broke as he saw his son the son that he wants to talk to walk. Like all this thing's all things that the father had given him. And run as far away from his dad if he could.
the Sun move to another city. A place where he wouldn't be under dad's watchful eye. How do you use this opportunity to do everything that he wanted to do everything that his dad never would allow him to do he did it?
His days were spent living it up so to speak. Wine water Whiskey Women all those things anything that he wanted to do. He did it.
And every time he did the words of his dad, they were always in the back of his head it he never could kind of brush these things aside knowing that these things that he was doing things that his dad would never approve never in a million years would let him do and yet he brushed aside because he was having so much fun. He was having the time of his life everything that his dad said was bad. It felt so good and it made him feel excited and made him feel accepted it made him feel all of these things that he had just never had his entire life. So how could these things that that said be bad to obviously my father has no idea what he is talking about. The only problem is you didn't realize as he was going through this if he was wasting everything that his dad had given him.
And it would not be long. Before the fun would stop before the money would run out before the women and the girls and the drugs and all of those things would be gone.
And he would be left with absolutely. nothing
Many of you recognize the story that I just told if you've grown up in church, you been around the church at all, even if you haven't you probably familiar was one of Jesus most famous stories. The beginning of the parable of the prodigal son and when we don't use that word prodigal anymore, but it means Reckless or wasteful. So it's the parable of the Reckless and wasteful.
And one of the reasons why I think that story has so much power one of the reasons why I think it's so well-known is because every single person at some point in their life can identify with the story. I mean who of us don't know anyone who has gone out? The live their life thinking that they're pursuing the things that are going to make them happy thinking that they are going to pursue the good life so to speak.
And yet end up being disappointed being heartbroken being left with absolutely nothing.
We all know somebody like that and for many of us we see that person every time we look in the mirror and it's important for all of us today. See were talking about what the Bible says about raising kids and last week we talked to parents and we focus on parents roles and responsibilities that parents cannot be the perfect parent, but you're not parenting alone that you have the perfect parent in our heavenly father who is working with you who can help you who can help make up for your mistakes and to make you a better parent. We said last week God can raise our ability to raise our kids but here's the thing parents even if you were the perfect parent for your kids, but you can't be but even if you were there is no guarantee that your kid is going to turn out right because here's the thing raising kids involves more than just the parents involvement. In fact today. I want to talk to kids and not just kids who are living in Mom and Dad's home. That's that's fine. But if there's anybody here who was raised by a person whether it was a grandparent whether you were adopted whether you were raised in a single family home. Multi-family home where they were raised by single parent. Are you raised by Mom and Dad together, if you weren't Raised by Wolves the things that I'm going to say are going to apply to you today.
because kids I think have even more say. and hear me kids have even more say and how their lives turn out. and their parents do I also want to talk especially to a graduating seniors. Because you are going through a pretty big transition in your life the next 10 years of your life are going to be a whirlwind.
For the time I graduated. ten years after I graduated
I had change Majors twice. I got in the degree. I got married I had two kids.
I change careers a couple of times a lot is going to happen in a lot is going to change in your life in the decisions that you make now are going to make a huge difference a huge impact on how your life turns out. And guess what? There's going to be nobody to blame if things go wrong. It's going to be nobody else. You can point the finger to and blame except for yourself. That's what I love graduation Sunday. I love talking to seniors and I'll say this again probably before it's over, but you guys haven't messed your lives up yet. I say it every year, but you haven't You have the opportunity to do this, right? You have the opportunity to do this in a way that that most people would just look back and say man. I wish I could go back and do that over here is where you are.
It's up today whether you are a kid as the Christmas song says from 1 to 92. Whether you're graduating senior no matter who you are, I want to show you biblically. How you can get exactly what you want out of life. I'm going to show you how to live a good long life.
Many of you probably don't know this some of you do but about a month ago, maybe a little more our family had a pretty significant addition. My kids went to the farmers market with their grandparents and one day they just decided they were going to come back with for chickens. Now. I don't know much about chickens. If you ask me what kind of chickens they are. I'm going to tell you they are female. They are hens. That's that's about all that. I know they're gray. So if that tells you anything if you're wondering they like very delicious eggs, and we've been sharing some eggs with a few of you. I think the reason why they got them as they were tired of buying eggs from Brody. He charges some really high prices. So I'm just kidding.
But we got we got these chickens. Is it when we get these tickets? We got to figure out a place for them to live. We don't have a chicken coop. I'm not going to go buy one and but we do have is we have this dog kennels a pretty sizable. Nice dog kennel. So what we do is wait, we put chicken wire around it. We put chicken wire over the top of it. And this is where they stay. It's a 10 foot by 20 foot dog kennel that they are living in we've got them a place to lay their eggs. We got them food and water. We got all the things that we need to take care of these chickens, but they live in a cage now some people I think they're probably animal rights activist and if there anybody here, you know, I'm not not against animal rights and things like that, but they're probably some people who would look at that and say man, what a horrible Life to Live and a 10-foot by 20-foot cage for the rest of your life how how miserable it must be that seems like prison. Even though it's a pretty sizable Chicken Coop. I know chicken soup who live in a lot lot smaller Deluxe condos, okay. but they say let's just seems like it's horrible. Why would you put those chickens in a cage?
The reason we put them in a cage is not because we hate the chickens. The reason we put them in a cage is not because we're against their happiness. We we put them in a cage because we want them to survive and it is a dangerous World outside that takes We also some of you may not know this. We also have dogs running around our place constantly. And there are days when those dogs will get up in a frenzy and they are trying with everything that they can to get into that chicken coop to kill those chickens. That's all that they want to do. If we did not put those chickens in the cage. They would be dead chickens. We can let them run free and they can walk into the road and get hit by car. There are raccoons there coyotes. There are snakes there are any number of things outside of that cage that can kill those chicken and so we put them in there because we want to keep them safe those boundaries are there for their protection and it's the same reason why good parents will have rules. They will setting boundaries for their kids because Good parents know that life. Can be dangerous. They have rules for your kids because not because we don't want you to have any fun not because we don't want you to do any of those good things not because we don't want you to have a good life. We have those rules and set those boundaries precisely because we want you to flourish we want you to do. Well, we want you to live that great life. It's the same reason why God laid down laws these rules in the Bible for this is what is right, and this is what is wrong because He loves us. the problem is that when you grow up in Mom and Dad's house.
We rarely see it this way how many of you were just thankful that Mom and Dad had a rules. How many of you were just thankful that you couldn't go and do these things. It felt like prison it felt like you were living your cooped up in this little tiny cage and you couldn't go and do anything that you wanted to do. All you could do was what Mom and Dad said in for many of us. We looked at this and we said man, this is just so restrictive and instead of except instead of being thankful for Mom and Dad love instead of any of this thing. We decided that we were going to Rebelle. like the sun in the story of The Prodigal Son We raise our fists against our parents maybe a little ways maybe some of us in big ways. But whether you were a good kid or a bad kid, we all did it to a certain extent. We all tested the boundaries. We all stepped outside. We all rebelled.
and when we did that it Our parents are punished. Her parents would would bring us back and some of us had a tougher relationship with her parents because of because we did not want to follow their rules. And so they kept having to come down harder and punish this morning to take things away from us and we just struggled so much with that and sometimes it got so bad that we even said man. I cannot wait until I grow up. I cannot wait till the day that I move out of Mom and Dad's house that I moved out from under this oppressive thumb that they've got on me. I cannot wait till I can live out on my own and live life the way that I want to and then three seniors here that day is coming for you pretty quick.
The question I want to ask you especially now that you're here at this point. is when that day comes and you no longer living at her mom and dad's proof. What are you going to do with that?
Do you see that there is wisdom in these bout you see that at these things that they're doing that they want to keep you safe. They want you to live well because they understand but it can be a very dangerous world out there. I want to exclude experience what's good, but they want to protect you. From what is bad?
And as we read the Bible biblically it reminds us over and over and over and over and over and over again that life is better in the boundaries must say that again life is better. in the boundaries
you see if I if there was one question that I could ask it it just just from what the Bible teaches that's a big predictor of how someone's life is going to turn out. I think one of the the questions that you could ask and one of the things that you could look for especially in a young person is is asking this question. How well did you respond to the authority of your parents and some of your for laughing like off and I'm not too well at all. But by the grace of God turned out, okay, but how well did you respond to the authority of your parents?
The authority of mom and dad that may not seem like a big deal to you. But the guy that actually is a pretty big deal. Don't you remember the story of of the Ten Commandments how Moses and the Israelites come to Mount Sinai and God lays down. These is rules. He gives his Commandments for how the people are going to relate to him. And in these Commandments there are many things that makes sense should be in there, you know, don't murder and don't steal. Yeah. Those things are our moral and those are right and we should obey those things don't worship any other gods. Yes, we get that we get why that's important. Now number 5. Is one that just kind of sticks out like a sore thumb because number 5 in this is God's top 10 list of the 10 most important things. You need to know about being righteous. God says this honor your father and your mother why is that in there? Why is that show important to God and I want to show you that today because I want you to see I don't want you to see why God would put that in the top 10 and why that makes such a difference in how somebody lives their life and goes about living from day today. It was so important that the Apostle Paul when he was riding to church in Ephesus. He was riding to Christians and he was talking about this idea of raising kids. He addresses kids first. He talked to parents later and we're going to talk about what he says the parents but he addresses kids first and here's what he says in Ephesians chapter 6. He says children. Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right and then he refers back to that command. He says honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise. What is that promise? This is this so that it may go well with you. And that you may enjoy long life on the Earth. So here is the promise for those who obey their parents now, there is a big assumption here. I just want to I just want to put this out there because not everybody had good loving parents who were taking care of them. And so we say this is this apply to me it am I supposed to be obedient notice what it says there. Don't bother me back at one side where it says distant children need to obey your parents in. in the Lord
There are some parents who? for whatever reason
they aren't there teaching their kids was right. There aren't there for the kids there? They're off doing other things are some kids who are more mature than their parents when they turn 6 years old and some kids who do the right things and they look at their parents and I see how broken their lives in this ain't you know, what? I don't want any of that. I don't want to follow in those footsteps, and that's a good thing. We should obey our parents for this is right. If your parents are loving you if they are teaching you what is right if they are leading you the way that you should go not saying that have to be Chris and I'm just saying wherever they are.
If they are leading you and what is right, we need to obey them while we are in their house and we need to honor them is another word for Honor that I would would use there and that's the word respect. To respect our parents and respect their Authority why you live in their home you owe them obedience. Before you seniors her moving out that's going to change because you're going to be your own person and that you're going to get married and all of a sudden it's not going to be about what Mom and Dad says anymore. They're not going to be the ones in control of your life or at least they shouldn't be if Mom and Dad are interfering too much in a marriage. That's not really a healthy kind of situation.
But we still owe them on our impulses. If you will do this if you will respect your parents Authority. There's a promise attached that you said so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth. Now. Here's here's what the way that I understand this. I don't think what Paul is saying is that this is some kind of magical formula forgot to bless you like a Genie in a Bottle you do this you honor your parents and everything else in your life goes. Well, I don't think that's what Paul is promising. I don't think that was that's what God is promising. I think this is extremely practical. I don't think it's magical at all. Here's why Because for most kids the first Authority in your life is who?
the first Authority in your life is to Oh God, yes, but for kids recognize it for a baby growing up. I don't know if a baby is conscious of of God in the Theology and who he is who is the first Authority for most people their parents are the people who raise them, right? That is the first Authority now if you respond well to that Authority your relationship with your parents will be better wanted. If you ignore that Authority and if you fight and you were Bell, what's going to happen? You going to get in trouble you're going to have a difficult relationship things are going to be harder for you. If you rebelled against that Authority parents are often the first Authority in the life of a person, but are they the last Authority? I didn't hear a big no. No, they are not. They're not the last Authority. And hear me on this because past behavior is the best predictor of future performance and this is so important. For those kids who grow up in Mom and Dad's home and Mom and Dad are loving mom and dad are doing everything that they can even though they're not perfect. And I say I'm so tired of you telling me how to live. My life. Nobody is going to be in charge of me except for me one day that kid is going to grow up and they may go to college. And I may be in a class and I might say, you know what I'm tired of all these school rules because the truth is I'm the one who's in charge me. Nobody is going to tell me how to do and those kids are they going to do well in school or not? Those kids are going to grow up one day and they are going to get a job. And in that job. They are going to have a boss and that boss has the authority to hire or fire that boss has the authority to tell you what to do. I know because I have been a boss before and not everybody responds well to being told what to do, even though they agreed to take the job even though they agreed to do the work. They don't like it. Sometimes those people did not work for me for very long. Those people had trouble holding down jobs. Those people were not the ones who were promoted. Those people are not the ones who were successful those people who fought authority in the workplace are the one who ended up in trouble all the time. You see how what happens in the home and what is in a person's heart, even when they're a child can carry through into adulthood. The only problem is in adulthood. The consequences are much much greater. How many knows that the government has a bit of authority to tell us what to do? But there are those who say you know, what the government has no authority over my life. I'm going to do what I want to do. If they tell me this is it legal I'm going to do it. Anyway what happens to people like that? They have a good life. They live stress-free they live well, medium end up in prison or worse And there are times when we even do this with God in fact doing all of these things rebelling against your parents rebelling against Authority in the workplace Rebellion against Authority in the school system of the government. All of these things is actually rebelling against God because God is the one who put those people over you. some people say to God to say God I know that. Some people tell me that you love me but this the stuff that you have written this book that's too restrictive for me. And I'm not giving you a thority over my life. I'm going to live it's how I want to live it. I'm going to do what I want to do when I want to do it. And just like the prodigal son they run. They run from their father who is giving them good things. They run from the one who wants good things for them who loves him.
And because of this overtime.
They end up hurting themselves.
And unnecessary ways.
Life is hard enough. You're missing yours on. This life is hard enough.
When you're doing everything, right?
Life is hard enough when you're trying to be good life is hard enough when you're following. The rules life is hard enough on its own. You don't have to make it more complicated than it needs to be.
It's a parent's just for a minute if you got kids living in your home.
God has made you that is put you in this place to be that kind of authority to be the kind of person who sets boundaries not to be the pal not to be the buddy not to be the one who gives the kid everything that they want. God has raised you up for this purpose to be the one who leads your kids and shows them. What is good. And what is bad and teaches them the right way to go. In hopes that one day when they grow up and they leave your home that they are ready to make wise decisions and understand those boundaries and to make some of the same decisions themselves to not needlessly Harmon. That is the role of a parent. It's not just to make your kids happy.
Is he know what the parents this is kind of funny, but that the parents who try to make their kids happy. Their kids are never happy. Are they? never
for kids cuz I said before you got a big role to play in this.
If you are going to experience that good and long life. That's what pulse talking about.
and if you want to fill in the blank and write this down you can but don't raise your fist against those erase you
Seniors you want to honor your mom and dad? You want to thank them for the things that they have done for you for all the good things you've done. The best way you can do that. Going to be living out of their house. You're not going to be under the rules anymore. You know, that's why you can do that as make good decisions.
To do what is is right that to stay away from those things that they they warned you about trust in their words hit to do these things.
That is going to honor your parents more than anything so they can look back one day and see what I guess. I guess something that I said actually got through.
for those of you who are graduate answer this
even after you're out of mom and dad's home. They're all these other authorities the best thing that you can do. If you give God's word that Authority in your life to let it guide you there's a verse that I always is good to seniors. If I if I talk and I have just a few minutes and I did it last year, so I didn't didn't speak on it this year but Proverbs chapter 3 verse 5 & 6 is this and it's so important is trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. No, that means right means that you're not always right the things that you want or not always good. So when God says don't do something and you you want to do it. Remember the chicken coop life is better in the boundaries lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight. You were going to be very lonely over these next few years. I saw story just this week. I talked about how lonely people from 18 to 22 years old are now that got 500 friends on Facebook, but when they need somebody there is nobody there for them. And often the reason they are so lonely is because they tend to cut ties with everything else even their parents, but your parents are always going to be here for you.
The ones that are with you they're going to be there for you. You don't have to turn and run from them.
You have opportunity to do this, right? So I encourage you to do it and if you trust in him if you trust in God, he will go with you and he will make your paths straight, but there's one more. I want to talk to you and then we'll get to the food. I know you're all anxious and ready.
But those of you who look back and say man, if I could go back to that place where you are seniors, I would do things a lot differently. I would have made different choices. I would have not done the things that I've done I would have listened. I knew better but I did these things if there's anybody there like that today.
I want a carriage you that that that prodigal son in his story is not over.
That after his life was a wreck and everything was gone and he had wasted everything in his father's house. He realize one day he woke up and realize one day when things were so much better by Cadets. So he got up and he turned around and he went home. And he knew that he had. Basically burn that bridge he knew that he couldn't be considered a son because he had taken everything is a sign of you to waste it at so he wasn't even going to ask to be at Via son again. So you just said, you know, I'll just be a slight I'll be a servant in your house because even the slaves are better than I am and so he goes back to the father. And he's expecting to have to grovel. He's expecting to have to beg but the father was looking for him the whole time and when the father sees him coming from a long way off. The father is overcome by love and joy, and he runs and she runs to his son and he grabs him up in his arms and his son's got this big speech prepared to sit father have sinned against heaven or sinned against you but the father doesn't even let him finish. She says quick we're having a party. My son has come home. He puts his robe on it. He puts his ring on and he says you are my son. Doesn't matter what you've done you can always always always come home.
There are those here who need to hear that. Because there's a voice in your head that's telling you it doesn't matter because of what you've done nothing. can fix the Brokenness that you see around you but I know someone who can because God sent his son dessert. We were all disobedient. Children Bible says that we all send we've all fallen short of the glory of God that God sent Jesus the desert God's son. And where is we have none of us been perfectly obedient? Children, Jesus obeyed God perfectly from day one to the day that he died on a cross.
If he was obedient, if he was good, why did he died? He died for your disobedience. He died for my disobedience. He died for all of those things that you messed up all those things that you've done wrong. He died for those things so that when we trust in him We give our lives to Christ.
Got cancelled our record of the Soviets.
And he gives us Jesus record a perfect obedience for Christian. It means that your sins your mistakes every single thing. What weight and in God's sight?
It's as if you've never turned your back on them, it says if you've never left his ass if you have never run away. We are all guilty of raising our fists against our loving Heavenly Father.
Some good music right there. Like we are all guilty of raising our fists against our loving Heavenly Father. We've all turned our backs on it.
But the invitation to come home is always open.
It's after someone here has been running if there's somebody here who is trying to get away.
But you stop before it's too late. And would you turn around? Would you go home? And I promise you God will be there waiting for you with open arms.
Which staying with the church?
Asking to come up is going to lead us in one more song. We've got hamburgers and hotdogs next door. I hope that you'll stay there is going to be plenty celebrate with our graduates. Let them get some some good grub open up all of their their cards and presents. There may be some money in those cards graduate said that I heard a rumor that there might be so I'm so glad you're all here if you need prayer for anything. I encourage you to come up after the service, but we're going to go ahead and dismiss and so I've gone a little long but I'll be available if anybody wants to talk after the service is good to see all of you here. Glad to see all the visitors. May the Lord bless and keep you Church.