Hope For The World

Hope!  A most excellent week one for Surprised By Hope.  Our reading and video helped wind us through the streets in our community.  As we look out the window, we see that everyone is busy.  Production is high, success is often the focus, our married couples are both facing challenging demands in trying to get ahead…and this is just the day job.  Our kids are over-programmed as we face our fears of failure in the pressure that they have to commit now, in third grade, or they are going to get passed by.  Meanwhile, an economy that has pressured middle class families with stagnated wages that have not kept up with inflation, all the while trying to balance monthly expenses that did not even exist 15 years ago just to try to keep up.  For our young people, entry level is much different than 20 years ago while student loans have skyrocketed making mom and dad’s basement not a luxury–but a present day reality.  Our loved ones are getting older and best decisions for all are complicated?

So our study starts out–“What are we waiting for? And what are we going to do about it in the meantime?”(p. 6, study guide).  What is our ultimate hope?  Then we are challenged from what is so common in the church with either: 1. The “Secret Code” approach to Scripture-if only we can crack the code–then we are in; or 2. The “Escape the World” approach–that if our concern is our ticket to often–then we will be leaving this all behind–so who cares about this place anyway?  But then we are challenged that God’s purpose is to restore all of creation. (Read Psalm 96) To add my favorite translation/definition of righteousness that God’s purpose is ‘restorative justice’.  To vindicate the oppressed, the poor, and those on the margins.  And so we are challenged with how are we living as people of hope?  Individually and as a community?  And how are we expanding this into the margins so that at least in our corner–by standing on the margins, hope is helping to eliminate them altogether.  When we are living into hope that is not removed, but present now–that we live into being a church that is made of people gathering to share hope with one another and sharing this out in our world.

From our first meeting, most excellent questions were raised at the end.  I encourage you to help respond.

1. What is God waiting for?

2. What would the world be like if there were no Christians?  (The video helped share the nuance of the terrible things that have happened in the name of Christianity such as Crusades, Inquisition…, and great things with references to the earliest Christians, abolitionist William Wilberforce, etc…)

3. Why this planet? Of all the planets in the cosmos, are we the only creatures made in God’s image?

4. Looking at the beauty of creation and the hummingbirds that gather at the feeder, there is one that always drives the others away?”  When we say we see God in nature, what about the realities such as this?

Great questions.  For those that missed the first session, Tony Winter will be leading another group starting this next week, Wednesday night at the church at 7:00 pm.  Join us on Wednesday nights at 7:00, or Thursday mornings at 7:00 am as we enter into being surprised by hope.


Summer Events Schedule

We have many exciting events planned this summer. Mark your calendars!

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Surprised By Hope-Small Group Study (A Second Group is Being Formed)

Is our hope one in the future?  Or should hope be in the present?  How does this make us think about how we are to live in the world?  Would you like to join a small group that enters into many of the questions of the mysteries of faith.  This will be a six week study where we will read N.T. Wright’s, Surprised By Hope. (Click link to order book, or let me know with a few days notice and I will place an order). *please note–only need to purchase the book-I have purchased the DVD/Study Guide.

*Our first study will begin on Thursday, June 12th, from 7:00 AM until 8:30 AM at Dunn Bros in Apple Valley.  If you would like to join the study, but this time does not work for you–I will work with you to make this work.

***Please note, a second study is being planned.  Reverend Tony Winter, our Parish Associate and chaplain at Woodwinds Hospital wants to hear from you.  Would you prefer Thursday nights?  Or Sunday following worship?  Based on your response, we will begin a second group soon.  Stay tuned.

Here is the introduction provided by the publisher:

“Many Christians believe our future in heaven is all that really matters. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. Through this small group bible study, Surprised by Hope, premier Bible scholar N. T. Wright brings you inside the Scriptures to grasp the full, breathtaking hope Jesus offers the world, and its implications for your life today. Gain an exciting new vision for your life on earth in light of your future in heaven. Wonderful as is the promise of heaven, a glorious hereafter is just part of what salvation is about. What about today? Jesus called his followers the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Your life here and now is of tremendous consequence, and what you believe about the future has a direct impact on how you live in the present. In six transforming, faith-inspiring DVD sessions, premier biblical scholar N. T. Wright opens your eyes to the amazing full scope of what God’s Word has to say about the world to come and the world that is. This DVD will help you get the most out of each session as you explore such questions as What is heaven really like? Is our main duty as Christians simply to help non-Christians get there? What hope does the gospel hold for this present life? In what ways does God intend for us to experience that hope personally and spread its healing power to the world around us? This DVD is designed for use with the companion Surprised by Hope Participant Guide (both are included in this pack). Surprised by Hope provides a clearer vision both of the future and of God’s kingdom at hand today. Sessions include: 1. Hope for the World2. The Hope of the Resurrection 3. The Hope of Heaven 4. The Hope of Jesus’ Second Coming5. The Hope of Salvation 6. The Hope of the Church”

June newsletter

JUNE 2014 pdf