News: Get it! Prayer in practice. The last few weeks I led an everyday study on relational building and outreach (SRO) on hope. In that study the Biblical verses and a word study on "Hope" was done and extracted, contextualized and historically, time-tested and looked towards as a prep class for a "new advent." This means that this study took forty verses on the word "hope" and communicated what 1. "hope" means to people at the time the Biblical verse was written; 2. What the verse means to us today; 3. Building a bridge or digging a tributary or canal between their time and our time. "It is really word archeology" says one of the pastors that meets in our little group. "When you pray the verses daily it is amazing what God is tells you. It is indeed prayer in practice when in the right and trusted hands!"
Prayer in practice
The final verse on "hope" in the Bible actually was one that we missed. But it is appropriate to pray that verse this morning. "Hope" is often associated with faith which is associated with love and in the words of the Doobie Brothers- "Without love- where would you be now?" Part of the study on The New Advent contains the element of love and so we will revisit this verse in the summer. "There is nothing that love can't face," writes Paul to the church in Corinth. "There is no limit to it's faith," Paul continues. "There is no limit to it's hope; and it's endurance." Paul comes off of a defining moment of what love is and puts an explanation of the proper usage of love in truth that has ever been made by a human. Paul writes to one of the most perverse, carnal and ritualistic cultures in history, who thought that they knew and lived love. Paul takes their definition and puts it on its side. Their definition of love had nothing to do with "patience." They were the ultimate version of "love the one your with." Our prayer in practice is to address a culture who "wants to love who they want to love, and they want their rights to love who they want to love and impose their love on you and me." One of the things that is so troubling with the pressure on the Boy Scouts of America, is that instead of working on keeping boys safe from pedophiles and developing a system of checks and balances, after revelation of a long time problem with abuse in leadership ranks, they are pressured by financial sponsors and the President of the United States to compromise their values. Our prayer in practice is to define love, marriage, and values and not to cave into immorality. Where is there hope, when we hope in something other than God?
A study on hope, as a Biblical principle is a key element in being ready for the return of Christ- no matter when he returns. The element of hope in God in our lives is what we should be focused on. "For I know the plans I have for you- says the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future," Jeremiah 29:11. In February and March this news will be built on that kind of study. Faith in action is hope in action. hope motivates both good works and belief. Hope also helps leaders develop something that not too many leaders have- "conviction." One of the problems with leaders and communications is that they lack conviction. They believe something very deeply, but they lead people in another direction. This is the problem with politicians in many cases. When you are not leading wiith Biblical conviction, Systematic theological conviction; and a conviction that is evangelical, then you are cheating and misleading, withholding truth from the people you are leading. There is a study and a book by Albert Mohler called "The Conviction to Lead."
Visions, worldviews, mindsets
Mohler bolsters his argument by quoting philosopher Thomas Sowell- "Visions may be moral, political, economic, religious or social. In these other realms, we sacrifice for our visions, except think about them." What is interesting about this conversation is that people that we lead not only have different visions, they have different realities. If my reality is that God has a purpose and a vision and a plan for each one of us, and that plan includes eternal life, than the way I operate will be different than the person who is "looking to leave a legacy on earth and who believes that what they contribute on earth is it and when they die what is on their resume' is how their obituary will read. What you put your hope in is what you will get out of life. That is what Paul tells the church in Corinth:
"Love will never come to an end. Are their prophets? Their work will be over. Are there tongues of ecstasy? They will cease. Is there knowledge? It will vanish away; for our knowledge and prophecy are only partial; and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes." (1 Cor 13:8).
I don't want to go back to another era- but here is something I CAN go back to- the candy of our youth. When you buy a favorite brand of retro candy, a portion of your purchase goes to causes and ministries central to your heart! Reminds me of my paper route.
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