Fill Your Hope Tank
Looking into a Christian community from the outside can leave people feeling a little confused. Christians can sometimes come across as overly optimistic, and even sometimes annoyingly full of peace (not always - frankly sometimes life is just hard). A friend of mine had a major life tragedy a few years ago. At the funeral service, he sang courageously and in the face of great adversity, "all is well with my soul". Some people were annoyed, most joined in. What was going on was not unreality, but an immense work of grace and peace in a young man's life. Life was tough, but he knew God was with him, so all was well with his soul.
There is a prayer in the bible that ends with, “now to him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine”. It is one of those hopeful passages that followers of Jesus like to hang on to. We hold it up against the impossible, confident that our God has got this. The world looks on like we might be slightly crazy, but these words and the hope we have are not unfounded. There are at least four things that underpin our audacious hope.
Hope founded on Jesus
In Ephesians, Paul lays out clearly the good news of Jesus. That his death deals with the mess we make and that his resurrection brings us to life.
Hope that is purposeful
The church is not a collection of people who are just hopeful, we also have a clear purpose. “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known...”
Hope that is rooted in love
All this is deeply rooted in knowing that we are loved by God. We are supposed to know his love in a way that surpasses knowledge.
Hope is discovered in community
Right after Paul has outlined these amazing truths he goes on to talk about unity and community. All these things are worked out with others. Following Jesus is not a solo activity. The church is described as the body of Christ, we are inseparable from one another.
So out of this let me give you four things to ponder as a way of keeping your hope tank full.
Are you holding onto the good news of Jesus as revealed in the bible or have you accepted a diluted version?
Have you got a clear purpose? Whether you work in a shop, a bank or a hospital, you're retired, at school or unemployed, you can live as if serving the Lord. Suddenly even ordinary life has meaning.
When was the last time you stopped and rested before God who loves you? Remember that we are supposed to be fruitful, but fruitfulness comes from abiding.
How are you doing with being part of the church family? Are you gathering with others for worship regularly? Are you meeting with others in a small group (we call them homegroups here)? Are you looking out for others? There is a place in this family for every one of us and the church family needs you so that we can be all that God has made us to be!
As we follow the way of Jesus together I pray that we would be rooted and established in love so that he can do more than we could ask or imagine.