Archives For hope

With all the bad news this year and challenging times, it is more difficult than ever to remain hopeful and positive. There seems to be a constant stream of negativity and pessimism.

When I began in missions 28 years ago, Americans were known around the world as hopeful and overcoming. This seems to be changing. We now seem to be negative and cynical proclaimers of doom and gloom.

As Christians, we are the only people in the world that have grace. This should help us to have a different perspective on hardship. The reality of grace becomes even more real during times of struggle.

When I see the Biblical authors speaking about grace during trials, it was not something they learned in a classroom or a textbook. It came from facing much more than we have. 

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What is at Stake?

December 2, 2018

When we returned to America as a family 18 months ago, it came as a surprise. Coming into my role as a missions and local outreach pastor, I did not have a set strategy or preset plan.

I had to come with the eyes of a missionary to my “home”. I was a stranger in my own land.

Here are few things I observed about America as I returned, coupled with some thoughts on how we can interact with this reality.

1. The World is Flat.

No, this is not a conspiracy theory, rather an observation of all the traditional missions needs. Issues like poverty, human trafficking, and pain are not “over there, international” issues, but are present right outside our door. Missions no longer requires a passport, it can be done in our own communities.

Grace When You Disagree

February 20, 2017

It seems there are more opportunities for division and disagreement right now than ever.

Many world events have caused Christians to take opposite sides on issues.

The recent election in the USA
The worldwide issues with refugees and immigrants
A global fear of the foreigner.

There are those embracing terms like evangelical and inclusive, while at the same time others are fleeing them.

Economic Disparity
Racism
Moral debates

Being unified as a church is harder than ever.

The apostle Paul had some experience in these areas.

He needed to bring together the arch enemies of the Jews and the Gentiles in the church of Rome. This required dealing with moral and cultural issues.

The church in Corinth was divided over spiritual gifts, freedom in Christ, and lawsuits to name a few.

Hopeless Hope

September 7, 2016

Christians and ministries often have a hard time losing hope. Hope filled Christianity is a wonderful thing, but it is more and more normal for people to hold out hope without any evidence to support it.

There are times when we must actually lose hope and it may be in the best interest of the person or the project.

Henry Cloud in his fantastic book,Necessary Endings,  deals with this at length. Take a look at some of these thoughts.

“Hope is based not only on desire, but also on real, objective reasons to believe that more time will help. That is way different from mere desire. Here is the principle: In the absence of real, objective reasons to think that more time is going to help, it is probably time for some type of necessary ending.”

Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.