Sunday, December 2, 2007


Here are the notes from my message this morning. Thanks to all who participated from Friday's blog:

All God Intended for You - A Message of Hope

The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city's hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child's name and room number and talked briefly with the child's regular class teacher. "We're studying nouns and adverbs in his class now," the regular teacher said, "and I'd be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn't fall too far behind."

The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, "I've been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs." When she left she felt she hadn't accomplished much.

But the next day, a nurse asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. "No, no," said the nurse. "You don't know what I mean. We've been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back, responding to treatment. It's as though he's decided to live."

Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization. He expressed it this way: "They wouldn't send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?"

What would life look like without hope?

Have you been there before?


Have you been there before?
Are you there now?

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We all find ourselves in the gutter from time to time, but some of us choose to never stop looking at the stars.

How do we, like the little boy, change our attitude and decide to live?
How do we never lose sight of the stars?

1. Open the Gift

October 8th 2007 – An ex-employee of an online clothing sales company in Japan expressed remorse in court for smashing 22 computers after learning his boss hadn't opened a gift. The 31-year-old man said he became angry when he discovered his gift hadn't been opened by the Osaka company's president, Asahi Shimbun reported. He pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing business with force. The defendant's attorney said the man was sorry for what he did and sought leniency from the court. Prosecutors said the man began working part-time in the company's shipping department in January and in July he gave a box of jellies as a thank-you gift to the president. His employer, apparently too busy, left the unopened box under his desk. When the man found out his gift had been set aside, he went on his workplace rampage, destroying the computers. While about a dozen people were in the office, no one was injured.

How would you feel if you gave somebody a gift and they failed to open?


How do you think God feels when He offers us a gift and we don’t accept it?


Like humans give each other toys and candy. God gives us gifts. Hope is one of them.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

So hope is a gift from God and it ranks right up there with faith and love.

Hope is nothing we can earn.
Hope is nothing we deserve.
Hope is a gift God offers to us.
It’s on the house. Free. No charge.

Like the toy or the box of candy – all we can do is accept it or not accept it.

The Greek word for hope is Elpis.
It is used 54 times in the NT.
Elpis is the desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Elpis is the opposite of despair.
Elpis then is a gift from God of a better future that we can expect to acquire.

1 Timothy 1:1

This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.

Psalm 71:5

O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood

Genuine Biblical hope is not a concept but God.

I took a few polls this week and asked people what they hoped for. Here is what I got.

Things We Hope For

  • I hope my marriage lasts my whole life
  • I hope for the restoration of fractured or broken relationships.
  • I hope for a cessation of stress.
  • I hope I am successful as a parent and husband. I hope I leave a respectable legacy, and that the world is a better place because I was here.
  • I hope that my life can be characterized as "well done, good and faithful servant" at the end of my term on this planet. –Matthew 25:23
  • I hope for peace of mind.
  • I hope to be more understanding and accepting.
  • I hope to be understood and accepted.
  • I hope for happiness for myself, my family, and for others.
  • I hope to be a kid every once in awhile.
  • I hope for family safety as we have known a number of families who have not been so fortunate lately.
  • I hope I see my father again and he tells me he was proud to have me as a son. We didn't have time for that conversation before he died.
  • I hope at least one person can say I was a good person and they miss me.
  • I hope my children learned some life lessons from me so they can make their little part of the world a better place.
  • I hope humanity someday learns to stop destroying each other because of race, religion, and / or desire for power.
  • I hope that my work doesn't bore me.
  • I guess if there's one thing I hope for, one all-encompassing thing, it's that I hope I've done the right thing and that it's enough.
  • I hope that we would learn to value biblical success and not our current materialistic success.
  • I hope for physical and emotional health and wellness for my family and myself.
  • I hope to make amends with some people from my past.
  • At the end of the day I hope I am a great husband and a great dad. I also hope to make the world a better place.
  • I hope to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything else will take care of itself when that happens.
  • I guess what I really hope for then is a mixture of clear purpose and contentment with whatever that purpose is. Maybe not even contentment, but excitement and joy.

Things God Hopes For His Children

  • That we love God
  • That we love others
  • That we don’t live in fear
  • That we experience joy
  • That we experience peace

Pretty much everybody I ask hopes the same thing for themselves as God hopes all of us. God is willing and able to give us what we most want and need.

So we open the gift. Next we need to…

2. Utilize the Gift

What if Benjamin opened the train, but didn’t play with it?
What if the executive opened the box of candy and threw it away?

One night at dinner a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. Then he added by way of explanation: "Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present."

And so it is with us. Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.

What if we opened the gift of hope? What if we once saw some value in it and maybe even used it and benefited from it, but then we stopped using it? Even though we may be aware of the gift, maybe we aren’t using it.

Acts 27:20

The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.

People can live about forty days without food
People can live about three days without water
People can live about eight minutes without air
But people can only truly live for one moment without hope. Despair sucks the life right out of us.

When we say a situation or a person is hopeless, what we are doing is slamming the door in the face of God.

Philippians 4:13

For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

No problem is too big for God.
No opportunity is too big for God.

Hear the words of Jesus from

Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

Think about this:

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it. -George Weinberg

God won’t abandon us. Hold on to God. Clutch on to God. Don’t let go.Remember that things can happen when we let God take the lead.It is often in our darkest times that God makes His presence known most clearly. He uses our sufferings and troubles to show us that He is our only source of hope and strength.
Are you facing a great trial? Take heart. Put yourself in God's hands. Know that you are not the only imperfect person.

The Bible is full of imperfect people. Such examples are written for our consolation: for it is a great comfort to us to hear that great saints, who have the Spirit of God, also struggle. Those who say that saints do not sin would deprive us of this comfort.

Samson, David, and many other celebrated men full of the Holy Spirit fell into grievous sins.

Job and Jeremiah cursed the day of their birth;

Elijah and Jonah were weary of life and desired death.

No one has ever fallen so grievously that he may not rise again. Conversely, no one stands so firmly that he may not fall. If Peter and Paul and Barnabas fell, we too may fall. If they rose again, we too may rise again.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying and kept on believing when there seemed to be no hope at all.

3. Enjoy the Gift

Hebrews 6:11

Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

What will your life be like when your hopes come true?

Keep loving, keep hoping, and know that dreams come true.

4. Make Others Aware of the Gift

Self-made millionaire Eugene Lang, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. "Stay in school," he admonished, "and I'll help pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.

Romans 15:13

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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