What would our lives and families and our church be like if we were all dealers in hope?
Think about the people who will walk into LFC this weekend. Some who had great weeks, others who have lost hope and some who will brand new and need to navigate new people, new campus, new styles and more. What we can all do is greet them with kindness and see if God will not use us to deliver hope to them – His Hope.
There is one thing we all possess (if we are followers of Jesus) we possess hope. Hope is in you if Jesus is in you.
- Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (NIV)
Notice what this verse teaches: It is a mystery too hard to fully explain, that Christ lives in us. Yet, He does! It is a mystery to realize that we always have hope available to us. This hope of glory is not only for the future, as in glory in Heaven (which it is) but it is for glory now. Glory is the manifest presence of God in our midst. It is His being with us when we are not aware of His presence or when we cannot seem to find Him. It is our inability to see Him, sense Him and believe that he is there – not his inability to be present in the moment. There is a deep hope that comes as we realize hope lives within us, because Christ lives within us. INCREDIBLE!
One of the most powerful, energizing words in the English language is the word hope. Hope is a power that keeps us going in the toughest times of life and if Christ is in us, it is His power that provides this hope. It’s His power that energizes us with excitement and anticipation as we look forward to an event, a win, a project completed somewhere in the future. Last week I was once again honored to be included as a judge for Cabrillo Senior Projects. Last night I had the joy of presenting two of LFC’s financial scholarships at the awards ceremony. We offer these to students who plan on going on to school to prepare for ministry in the local church, mission field or in the marketplace. One of our own students, Joe Hope, will be attending Life Pacific College (our Foursquare College) as he senses a deep call to prepare to be a pastor. Wait, his name is Hope and I just mentioned him in an article about hope!
I walked away from my experiences at Cabrillo very hopeful for the future. To be fair, the students at both Lompoc and Cabrillo High Schools are amazing and are also reasons I can be hopeful.
What does hope do?
It gives us reason to live. It takes obstacles and transforms them into possibilities. Hope changes our perspective and moves us from doubt and fear to an attitude of expectation and strength and a renewed courage. “Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens when the bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when the evidence is eliminated. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking. Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking. Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when no one is sharing. Hope looks for ways to bring victory even when no one is winning.” (Adapted from John Maxell) There is nothing to do but bury a man when his hopes are gone. It’s the one thing in your life you cannot do without. We need to help each other believe when fear arises, to hope in the midst of overwhelming fatigue and against all odds. We can encourage people toward hope by: helping them change their thinking and perspective, by helping then move toward small wins which sets them up for larger victories and by believing in someone with great enthusiasm and encouragement. Optimism is a passive virtue; hope, an active one. It takes no courage to be a dreamer, but it does take hope and courage to implement your dreams. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope. Washington Irving once wrote, ‘Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.’ Hopeful people learn from their losses and move on. They don’t dwell long on the past but rather embrace and work toward what is just around the corner. I encourage you today to not give up, to know walk in despair but to look up and embrace hope. As a man of faith, my hope is in my God and my Savior. He has become the origin of my hope. Where do you hope? What do you hope in? In a world that at times can seem hopeless, there is great hope. Seek and you will find. I am hopeful, how about you?
Hopeful because of Christ and because of you,