Hope Rising

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The story has been told of a handsome mature widower who took a cruise and after the second day he noticed a woman who was constantly staring at him. Finally, he got up the nerve, went over and asked, “I noticed you looking at me. Do I know you from somewhere?”

She said with a smile, “I’m just taken back by how much you look like my third husband.”

He said, “Third husband? Wow! How many times have you been married?”

She smiled and answered, “Twice.” Wow! Now that’s some strong hope!

We all have hopes. We hope that we will pass our exams; hope that we will get into our chosen university; hope we will get that great job; hope we will get that promotion; hope that we will get married; hope to have children; hope for a
comfortable retirement; hope for health; hope for happiness, and on and on. But sometimes hope slips away from us.

Do you know what it feels like to have hope sucked out of you? Most of us have been in a hope drought at one time or another. And we all understand hopelessness, where there seems to be no way of escaping pain, heartache,
disappointment, regret, or death. The missing ingredient in many lives today is hope.

You can live weeks without food, days without water, but only a couple minutes without oxygen. Hope is a lot like oxygen. Without hope, no one makes it very far. Take away a person’s hope and we little by little suffocate under the weight of our heartaches. We slowly slip into despair.

Let’s first clear the air about the word itself. Our common use of the word hope can tend to lead us astray from the full meaning as it is used in scripture. We carelessly say, “hope it doesn’t rain,” or, “I hope I’ll get a raise at work,” or, “I hope I win the lottery someday.” Not to be too semantic, but many of those are actually wishing . . . not hoping.
The word hope as used in the New Testament has nothing to do with unconfident wishing, but with confident expectation, or anticipation. Christian hope is not fingers crossed—it is a “full assurance of hope” (Hebrews 6:11).

Hope is powerful. Hope feeds our daily well-being and gives us the energy we need to face life’s most difficult moments. We all need more hope. Without hope, we slowly die inside. God knew we would need hope to be healthy. And Jesus knew he was the spring of all such hope; real hope is found only in Him.

Wherever Jesus went out into the community, people felt the presence of hope. Jesus came to liberate the blind from darkness, the lame from immobility, the sick from disease, and the possessed from madness. He summons the dead to life. Christ is the essence of hope.

Anyone can find it. Everyone is welcomed to come and get it. Hope is freely available and for six weeks this fall, we will be focused our efforts on that goal. I believe the one thing we’re quickly losing in our community is hope, but more
importantly, that our church can change that. We can give people hope. We have the answer for all hope. As I see it, hope is transferable. For those of us who are survivors of this world’s storms and dark nights, having passed through it and having lived to tell about it, we are qualified to share our hope with others.

Join us this fall as we explore the true meaning of hope and experience the reigniting of our hope.

When the hour is the darkest; hope shines the brightest. Hope is rising in Lincoln. Hope is rising in our church. Hope is rising in us!
“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

Upcoming Sermon Series:
Sept 16: The Identifying Mark of a Christian is Hope
Sept 23: The Struggle is Real
Sept 30: Getting Your Hope Back
Oct 7: Living Daily in Hope
Oct 14: Taking Hope to a Broken World
Oct 21: Hope is Contagious

[Ron Otto, preaching minister at Lincoln Christian Church]


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