Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finding a Way to Share Hope

It is pretty easy to become cynical in our world. Every day it seems there is a new crisis, a new conflict, or a new calamity. We are confronted with reports from the battle fields and the updates on the terror alerts. People try to cope with rising prices and rising unemployment. Relationship are broken and families face incredible pressures. In the midst of our often troubled world we are call to be people of hope. We have a message of hope. It is a message that has changed us forever. Our generation needs a word of hope. Our world desperately needs the people of God to live out the hope we have found in Christ.

We are fond of quoting the scripture regarding Jesus being “the way, the truth, and the life.” But it is not enough to quote the verse. Jesus called us to live “his way.” The Christian life is essentially a call to live our lives in ways that run counter to culture. As people of faith we believe even when the evidence is lacking, we love even when those we love do not respond, and we live with hope even when the world around us seems dark and discouraged.

Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome to say, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). It is a wonderful image—overflowing with hope! We need churches and Christians today who are overflowing with hope. I am certainly not suggesting that we need some type of simplistic or na├»ve faith which responds to life by ignoring the challenges and problems. I am suggesting that mature faith calls for us to learn to face the difficulties of life with the peace and confidence that comes from a relationship with God. Sometimes we grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Maybe we should begin to see these challenging days as days of great opportunity. Everywhere we look we can see people who are searching for hope. Often they seem to be looking in all the wrong places, but still they are searching. As the people of God we have the opportunity engage the world around us with honesty, integrity, love, and hope. My faith brings me new hope each day. On my best days I find a way to share that hope with someone else.

This year’s Annual Gathering will be a Share Hope Summit at Windermere Baptist Conference Center on Friday evening and Saturday morning, April 1-2, 2011. Church leaders will be coming together for worship and fellowship. We will also have the opportunity to explore together how our churches can more effectively share hope. The workshops will include sessions focused on “sharing our faith with friends and neighbors,” “ministering to the needs of individuals and families,” and “speaking and acting on behalf of the poor in our communities.” I believe it will be a great time of sharing and learning.

I hope you will plan to bring a good group from your church. Windermere will be a wonderful place to come together as a network of Baptists. Contact Windermere at 800-346-2215 to make your reservations. Checkout our website for more information—www.thechurchnet.org. Join us as we explore the hope we have in Christ.

This article was written for the Churchnet page in Word&Way.