This last Sunday we celebrated Graduate Sunday, and we honored our graduates. Actually this year we only had one, Caroline Knowles. Caroline has been a part of our church since she was very young, and now all of a sudden she is standing in front of the church preparing to received a Bible in commemoration of her graduation from high school.

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Immediately, I am struck with the sense of the bitter-sweet of the moment. What a joy to see a young woman grow up to serve God, and to become a beautiful and enthusiastic worshiper, part of our praise team. Caroline has not only lined up her school, for next year, but she has lined up her church, committed herself to their youth group and has made plans to be a full participant in the life of the church in Boone. She will not allow herself to drift and become unanchored while she is away. This is the sweet, the years of watching what God has been doing in her life and then to see her act with such maturity in Christ, and keep her focus clear on God. But we shall miss her… her infectious laugh, brilliant smile, full open worship, faithfulness and attendance in church. The after church crowd at Chick-Fil-A will miss her, during our times of fellowship when worship practice is done! In a thousand ways there will be an empty spot in our lives and routines. This is the bitter.

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There is a sense of honor in this too, that God would chose us and our church, small as we are, to be such a blessing to the lives of young people as they grow and start to take on the challenges of adult life. More than I care to number have passed through those same doors in the nearly 20 years we have been here, and it gets no easier. Caroline, like those before her will take a Bible awarded by the church to college, chosen not at random, but specifically and especially for her so that it will meet her needs going forward. We award three Bible in church, if you stay around long enough – one when you graduate from children’s church to the sanctuary, another when you graduate from high school, and finally a third Bible when you graduate from college. So Caroline has one more to come… in about four years from now, when we will rejoice in the staying and keeping power of God!

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About the Author

Paul and Loala pastor the Wilmington First Pentecostal Holiness Church, where they have served for almost 20 year. They have two children who work and serve in the church worship department, along with their son-in-law. Paul is a graduate of Holmes Bible College (Greenville, SC), with a BA in English Bible and New Testament Greek, and of Global University (Springfield, MO) with an MA in Biblical Studies (New Testament Concentration).

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