Lessons in New York City

I am enjoying three weeks in one of my favorite cities, New York. Never mind the sweltering July heat, give me the streets of Manhattan, the lush green beauty of Central Park and the off-beat artistic vibe of SoHo. I am enjoying every day while my daughter is participating in an advanced creative writing workshop for high school students at Columbia University. It is a great opportunity for her, and a wonderful opportunity for us to spend time together in the city we both love during the summer of her sixteenth birthday. On the first day of her program, I started giving her my “thought of the day” to make our time memorable and encouraging, so here are my lessons for my daughter in New York.

1. Believe that anything is possible

After the first day of her program, I told her that I brought her to New York so she would believe that anything is possible. She loves to write and Columbia is the top university for writing and journalism. After she got in, someone offered to pay her tuition and someone else bought her a laptop computer. So, instead of seeing the impossibilities, we should pursue God and our dreams and see what can happen.

“And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 9:23

2. Use your talents to make a difference
Talents are gifts to be used to make a difference, not just to say, “Hey, I have a talent, look at me.” That is an important lesson to learn early in life.

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
Teddy Roosevelt

3. You, too, can be an artist
We went to MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, and this was the thought I had as we left after viewing one canvas painted entirely in black and another entirely in white. Sometimes simple is genius, but not in that case.

4. Anything is possible, by determination and the grace of God
We have to work at things in life, even when some things come easily for us, to hone our skills. But most of all, we need the grace of God to accomplish anything worth accomplishing. I will paraphrase an example Pastor Brett Fuller gave last night at the Morningstar New York service. When his young son gave him a Christmas gift, he was so pleased as his father opened it, but the money for the gift was not his own. He had to purchase the gift with his father’s money. In the same way, anything we accomplish for God is because God Himself has “given us the money” or the abilities, strength and grace to do so. Therefore, we should humbly and thankfully acknowledge the work of God in our lives.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!”
Romans 11:36

I will elaborate on four more in my next post.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Thank you for those encouraging thoughts. The thoughts about “do what you can…” is really true, and the one of the talents, too. I put them on the top and the bottom of the exams of my students.

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