Hope Is A Person

How many times throughout the course of a day or week do you hear yourself saying, “I hope…”?
“I hope my son makes it back from the war.”
“I hope my daughter has a safe drive back from college.”
“I hope this surgery goes okay.”

Our normal use of hope often expresses faith that God is overseeing, but it also displays that we are dealing with uncertainties. We cannot control the outcomes of the war, the drive, or the surgery, but we really want things to turn out well. We want good news instead of bad news.

Hope for the believer is not a wish or reckless emotion in a series of improbable events. Rather, hope is a person: Jesus Christ.

Our hope of being accepted by the Father is based on what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. It is in Christ our longings for the Father are fulfilled. He is our hope. In Jesus, our hope is personified.                                                      – Ronnie Floyd

Luke 15 recounts the story of the “Prodigal Son.” Perhaps we can identify with the reckless “prodigal” part. However, we often fail to embrace the restoration part. Jesus Christ is our hope of restoration. Wear the ring. Put on the robe. Sit down and revel at your place at the table. The banquet feast is in your honor!

Let’s ponder it together over a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, Sunday 9 AM!

Why New groups Are Desperately Needed

INTENTION:
For years pastors and Sunday School directors expected teachers to surround themselves with other workers to get the important tasks of Sunday School done. Adult and youth teachers were expected to enlist (1) a secretary to keep attendance records; (2) an outreach leader to help the class pray for and reach out to their people group; (3) member care leaders to help the class pray for, contact, and meet the needs of members; (4) greeters to lead the class to welcome and register guests; (5) and an apprentice teacher to enlarge the teaching team and prepare for a new class start


CRISIS:
When pastors and directors got busy and stopped expecting teachers to surround themselves with other workers, they set in motion a major crisis with far-reaching consequences. Without expectations, the teachers who were busy did not fill vacant class positions. When the positions were vacated, the span of care began to suffer and attendance began to stop growing, plateau, and start to decline. The teacher tried initially to cover missing responsibilities but soon recognized it was beyond his/her ability. Member care and outreach were a struggle without champions to lead the class to carry them out.

ACTION:
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Wags – The Prodigal Dog

I have a pretty regular morning routine. The alarm goes off at 4:50 am. Debbie gets up and gets coffee. There is a reason why she gets it and not me. We drink coffee, read, and talk(?). Debbie heads to the Gym at 5:20. Wags and I prepare for our mile plus morning walk. It’s routine.

Monday morning upon our return from our morning constitution, as usual, I let Wags run free for a few minutes. Her first order of business is to enforce a squirrel free zone. She then makes a few zig zags and returns front and center. Well, not on this day! She leaps like an escapee. I call, I clap, I holler, and I walk around the house and the alley.  She has vanished without a trace! You should have seen the determination in that escape. I jump in the truck and stalk the neighborhood, to no avail. I even head across town to previous known haunts. Nothing there. I make several more loops until the neighbors begin looking at me suspiciously.

I get ready to leave the house and head into town. I call for Wags to get in the truck – nothing. After a few more neighborhood circles, I am now getting neighborly glares, I set my face toward Carbondale.  My mind is full of tragic scenarios and questions. Did some nefarious individual pick her up? Did she get hit by a car? Did she run away from home? Was it my fault? Why did I let her run on her own?

Debbie, who is spending a school holiday at home agrees to keep watch, just in case. I keep close to my cell phone.

Out of the blue she appears! A muddy, slimy, wet exhausted mess! Debbie takes her, bathes her, and brings her in the house, and she rests.  I am relieved, happy, thankful, and… Wags is on restriction until further notice.