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Graduation!  “Graduation” comes from the Latin word "gradus." And that dear Latin word means “STEP.”

So Graduation is a step, a beginning, a looking back at past steps to see how far these “graduates (steps) have come, and a looking forward to more steps (ORU for Carie Marie) to see where they, their next six steps are going to take them, and how far it is. Do you remember any of your graduations? How about pre-school, kindergarden, first grade, sixth grade, eight grade, freshman, high school? Do you remember what was said at those graduations? Do you know what I remember from my all of my graduation cermonies? “Congratulations.”

The speakers would say one sentence to us personally ("This is a beautiful day") and the rest was about challenge, success, opportunity, morals ethics, enterprise, business, etc. I however, do not want to stand up here and bore you.

But, I do know what I want to say at this graduation to the graduates.

1. Your parents are not dummies. Listen to them and be grateful.

2. You are more important than you think. Quit trying to be like someone else.

3. There is a God who calls us friends. So continue your prayers and remain friendly with Him.

4. Your future is now. Live it now. Cherish each day.

5. Say "I'm sorry" to the people who deserve your apologies.

6. Get good advice from good friends you trust. Advice on anything.

7. Forget alcohol; it is a killer. And drugs, well, you know the rest.

The rest will come to me when I am speaking. Our church is a beautiful setting for a graduation. For Monta Vista, the Baccalaureate service is held in the Hoover Memorial Chapel at Stanford University. Most impressive, especially if they let you speak from the high pulpit. Talk about an ego trip.

Today's world is challenging. Today's world is exciting. Today's world is filled with both challenges and temptations. The above tips of advice the graduates know already. But to hear them again at this time of excitement and promise sometimes brings renewal, re-firing up of one's life. And, as a speaker, I am more inspired than the "victims" who must listen to me. If you do not remember any of your graduations, no sweat. But if you do, recount them for yourselves and for your children.

Graduation is a "step" yes, a step in the right direction. At the final graduation, where we shall all pass and enter heaven, the diploma will be a hug from the Good Lord. So get ready....and be grateful.

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