Hope

Over the next 3 weeks I will be giving you some scripture, to reflect on some beautiful things that arrive with Jesus. This week we looked at Hope. When Jesus is born, it’s not just a baby being born in a stable but rather it is the moment when the door swings wide open to HOPE. Here’s the thing though. This isn’t just your standard run of the mill, “Geez I really hope this happens for me” wishful thinking kind of Hope. This is the, “God promised it; God will make it happen so I will expect it with confidence” kind of Hope. When Jesus is born true Hope explodes into reality for anyone throughout the history of mankind. This Hope is ever present for us, it is life transforming and it is ETERNAL!

 

This week, my invitation is for you to, on a daily basis, take some time to reflect on the amazing and wonderful Hope God has given us in Jesus Christ! Below is a list of scriptures and exercises to do every day to help you really dive into this concept of Hope!

 

Monday Day #1: He Shall Reign Forevermore by Chris Tomlin

Listen to this song by Chris Tomlin that proclaims this great and glorious hope we have in Jesus!

Really try to give this song a listen every day!

        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2NzLqpod0I&list=RDJ2NzLqpod0I

 

Tuesday Day #2: An excerpt from the Jesus storybook Bible

Back at the beginning of time- all had been lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, but even back then God made His promises to us. This excerpt is taken from a beautifully illustrated children’s Bible. Take some time to read this passage and consider the hope its words…

 

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.

THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE

 

Wednesday Day #3: Isaiah 9:5-7

Take some time today to read and reflect on this scripture written below.

For unto me a child is born, unto me a son is given;
   and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
   on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness
  from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Can you think of several hopeful statements in this passage?

 

Thursday Day #4: Words of reflection

Today we are going to reflect on a poem by Emily Dickinson, and then afterwards, I invite you to consider words that describe the hope God has given you and write them down on a notecard for you to tape or put somewhere you can see it. They don’t have to be anything super deep or philosophical. It could be a simple word or phrase. But it needs to make sense to you.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all….

~Emily Dickinson

 

Friday Day #5: John 1:9-14

Let’s reflect upon another great scripture passage filled with Hope.

 

Saturday Day #6: Colossians 1:26-27

With arrival of Jesus a new Hope has exploded into reality. God has come to us, to dwell in our hearts. Look at this amazing hope in this passage! What do you notice??

 

This is a brief list of verse and exercises for you this week as you reflect on advent! May the Lord bless you my brothers and sisters!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Doesn’t Do It Right, Mark 2:18-22

Hi folks-

Welcome to this week’s 2ndLook!

If you remember, this past Sunday we talked about how Jesus is joyful and so is his Kingdom. We often get this picture of God that He is an austere, overly serious, unhappy, and opposed to joy. Because we think God is all of these things we begin to think we must be these things as well. I have had multiple conversations with people through the years who think it’s actually inappropriate to get excited in church- to be loud, to jump around, to dance. I think in reality Heaven is going to be all of these things and more. We are going to celebrate for the rest of eternity.

 

Think of something you enjoy in life. I don’t know about you but I’ve often caught myself thinking- I enjoy this thing but I’m pretty sure God either feels nothing about the fact that I enjoy this thing or He actually is unhappy that I enjoy this thing. Maybe He thinks I enjoy it too much? But I would rarely think God is actually enjoying the fact that I’m enjoying this.

 

I used to go to the beach to play and ride waves. If you were to ask me if I thought God loved the fact that I enjoyed this I’d probably say that I didn’t think God felt one way or the other about it. But as the years have gone by I’ve begun to realize that God is a heavenly Father who loves His kids and loves to give good gifts to His children. Sure He disciplines us at times but He does this because He delights in us.  I have begun to realize that my enjoyment of His creation is an opportunity to celebrate with Him. Hey, even God saw what He created and said: “It is good!

 

Now one person might say: “What if what you are enjoying is sinful? God wouldn’t possibly enjoy that we are sinning would He?” I don’t think God enjoys us becoming enslaved to things. Certainly, He will call us away from things that are bad or enslave us. And that is where discipline comes in. But so often I’ve found myself thinking God may not even enjoy my laughter or the fact that I’m having fun. No, God only enjoys when we are beating ourselves up, denying ourselves something, reading our Bible and being super Christians doing spiritual disciplines.

 

We hear the phrase “spiritual disciplines” and it freaks us out because we can’t possibly imagine how the disciplines could be a joyful experience. The word “discipline” is such a heavy word. But even the disciplines can be acts of joy.

 

I think we need to add the word “delight” to the list of spiritual disciplines. What would it look like for us to intentionally delight in things and let our delight turn us towards God in gratitude and celebration? If you see a great sunset; delight in it, drink it in, and then proclaim with God that His creation is good. We get a great hug from our spouse, or kiss… delight in it! God made this to be a wonderful thing to us. Delight in it and thank God for it. We eat a great meal; delight in it, celebrate the great gifts God gives us in a simple meal.

 

Everyday there are reasons to be grateful and celebrate all around us. My invitation to you: Let’s delight and celebrate something every day this week. Your celebration can simply be to enjoy and then turn to God with a simple prayer of gratitude. Today I had a great lunch with a friend and during this lunch we spoke about real things close to our hearts. What a sweet time of discussion and being real with one another. I just sat back and enjoyed great food, good laughter, being vulnerable and thanked God for these moments because I think He was very much enjoying that conversation too.

 

The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. Let’s enjoy Him enjoying us this week!

 

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan