A guest blog by Pastor Dan Gay
- On Monday I visited a mom who was about to bury her 35-year-old son. I visited a woman trying to figure out how to tell her four kids their father died. I saw a man that couldn’t get past the hold of addiction and after two years clean, overdosed on heroin, was on life support, just a shell of himself.
- On Tuesday I watched the riots in Baltimore, as some were looking to destroy anything in their path, leaving others left to clean up the mess the anarchy did to their city.
In all of these situations, what I saw was a tragic loss of Hope.
Hope – verb \ˈhōp\ — To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.
Hope is the foundation of the Church. It carried the Israelites through 40 years of wandering, Noah through 40 days of flooding, Jerusalem through 70 years of exile as they awaited the coming of the Messiah. Hope in what will be, what can be, what should be is what keeps us moving forward. When Hope is removed, the people get worn down and it becomes hard to fight for what is right. When I look at Baltimore, I see people hurting who feel they have little hope of justice or having their voices heard. Hopelessness is what the world looks like without Jesus.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10.
You can see the contrast. Satan seeks to take away Hope but Jesus IS Hope! As the Church we have THE ANSWER. Hope in Jesus that should drive us to reach out, to serve and to love those that are hurting.
Bill Hybels said “the local church is the hope of the world”. It’s God’s plan to redeem the world by communicating the hope that transforms lives.
“ …. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” – Romans 5: 8-9
As the Church we have the Hope but we also have a responsibility to carry it, proclaim it and send it out to a world that is in a Hope Drought.
In order for us to accomplish that we need to do three things:
1. WAKE UP – If you have put your hope in Jesus, your life in not your own. You have been bought with a precious price, you have been adopted.
Josh and Summer are in Uganda working through the paperwork so they can bring three brothers back to New Jersey as their own! When they’re home, there will be a lot of celebrating and those boys will go into a family where they are accepted. They will not have to earn their parents love on a daily basis… it will have been given and once given it can never be taken away.
How much more does Jesus love you? That question should drive you to…
2. GET UP – As a response to what Jesus has done for you, He calls you to action! You find your calling in a season by aligning your heart with Gods and listening for what His Spirit is saying to you. What breaks your heart, what do you have a passion for? It begins with a willing heart and setting your priorities to say “Not my way but yours” and it will stretch you.
God doesn’t need perfect people to do His mission; He needs willing hearts who He will then make ready to…
3. STEP UP – To make a difference requires us to be unified under ONE mission, GODS. In Baltimore the tide turned when the people joined the pastors to restore sanity. They were driven by a purpose, to protect and love the people.
For our churches to become effective we need to move forward together using our gifts and our passion under His plan. Maybe it’s teaching little ones that Jesus loves them or helping teens find their way in a crucial time. Maybe its starting a small group where people can learn, love and serve together or being part of a team that helps make every Sunday a worshipful event. Maybe its starting something new to reach the city or sharing your hope with a neighbor who has more questions than answers.
The point is it takes us ALL and we have to die to our plans to allow HIS PLANS to happen and His plan is to bring Hope to the world.
…We will be a church that risks it all, gives it all and stretches to help people understand what life in Christ is. Our people will be passionate about Jesus, His word, His church and those who have not heard the Word. – 217church Blueprint
Its time to take the Hope given to us and with urgency bring it to the world because nothing else will make a lasting impact.
The question is will you? Are you Watching, are you still Waiting or are you Willing to go all in? I’m praying you will find the courage to join us in this mission.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.- Romans 15:13
Join us for an upcoming service in Hamilton or Robbinsville:
May 3 – Go Do Right – The Wise and the Foolish Builders
May 10 – Mother’s Day Celebration – Defining Moments
Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us. Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here.