The Hope That Lies Within You

I want to challenge you to share.

I realize that opening the door to a subject matter like this can open a can of worms. It can also create quiet. Maybe no one will share at all. In this crazy internet world of blogging, debating, criticizing, and arguing, I cannot help but think that there is still hope to bring people to a common ground. A middle, if you will, between our opposing views. The middle ground, I believe, is found in Jesus Christ. We tend to argue and defend our views from behind theological viewpoints and denominational standards. I believe if we continue to do that we will find ourselves completely broken. We talk about “holy conversation”. Could there be anything more holy than to discuss what Jesus has done for you?

1 Peter 3:15       New International Version (NIV)

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

This year I celebrate 14 years of marriage to the mother of my children.

I remember clearly the night we first met. We had talked on the phone or internet for a week. I asked if she wanted to meet me. She said yes. I drove 2 1/2 hours to get there. (The journey is a story all for itself.) I showed up late. She graciously sat down for a sandwich with me on a park bench near her university’s pond. She was and her family were life long United Methodists. We made small talk as we began to size each other up. Then, out of nowhere, I simply popped the question. You know…I need to know.

“So, what do you think about Jesus?”

Mid bite into a turkey sandwich I had brought for her, she looked at me with those “Really?” eyes, swallowed and cleared her throat. I had caught her completely off guard “Well, that’s a pretty deep subject.” It is. I knew that it was. But, I really wanted to know. It was imperative to me. What I really sought to start was discussion. What too many of us want when we ask questions about God or Jesus is some definitive answer that we can hold up and say, “Here it is!” We might get to that, but only if we take the time to discuss first. We need to talk. We need to spend time with one another. In the case of my wife and I, as is the case with many a couple, opposites tend to attract. I’m one who jumps in neck deep. Whether it’s theological discussion or a evangelical trip, I’m there. She tends to be more reserved. She takes her time with things and thinks about for awhile. Drives me absolutely nuts. I feel like much of our diversity in the church happens along these same lines. The church is not made up of people who all think alike. All people do not learn the same. All people do not have the same experiences or life lessons to pull from. It is only when we take the time to tell our stories and talk about what Jesus has done for us that we begin to find our “middle ground”. Out here on the internet and in these blogs, we spend way too much time arguing about doctrine and grovelling about where orthodoxy begins. Orthodoxy begins with Jesus. What we understand about God begins with Jesus. I already realize that won’t clear much up for some. But, I am of firm belief that the person of Jesus Christ can help clear up our muddied waters. In our denomination. In our hearts. In our churches. We simply need to focus what we are doing upon him and not some outside cause. Whether that we are focused on some social cause or political. We human being tend to get our priorities out order. Here’s where we start getting it right. “Tell me the stories of Jesus”

SO, my challenge to you is this…

Tell me what you believe about Jesus. I’m willing to bet that if this post was about some political issue or some social cause, there would be debate or arguing instantly. I’ve seen it happen. Maybe no one will respond at all here. Either because you don’t have a story to share or you’ve never taken the time to think out what you believe about Jesus. Talk to me about what Jesus has done in your life. Toss out your bullet list of theological points you hold dear or think the church should hold dear and just talk to me. Who is Jesus to you? I want to know. Give me an account of the hope that lies within you. Why do you believe in Jesus? Why is that so important to you? What has Jesus done for you? Tell me your story of Jesus and why that gives you hope.

“crickets chirping”

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4 Replies to “The Hope That Lies Within You”

  1. Our men’s bible study is chock full of the entire spectrum of progressives and conservatives, however, we all realize that the ‘least common denominator’ is Jesus. All is good.

  2. Jesus is very real to me. I don’t ‘believe’ in himm as much as I ‘know’ him. And when I came to know him, it made a huge difference in my life.
    Suddenly things that were supposed to be important just became trivia. Interesting to talk about, but not really adding any value. What became truly important was the knowledge that
    a. Jesus loves me, even though (his words) I’m the worst sinner on the face of the earth
    b. He has never failed to be there for me when I sought him out
    c. He gives clear, but sometimes obtuse, answers to questions. By obtuse I mean that he answers a different question, or restates it in a different way. In any case, He makes you think.

    An example: “Jesus, should I be doing more about abortion?” Answer: “It’s wrong to kill all those babies.” That’s it. Not an answer as such, but a clear indication that I needed to do more.

    My only regret is that I spent so much of my life being a believer, and so little being a ‘knower’.

  3. Jesus is my Lord and my master. He is the yardstick by which I measure my life. He is my goal and the one in whom I have hope. I fail him often, but I know that he’s always there for me. There’s so much else that could be said but I want more than anything to meet him face-to-face one day.

  4. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with fourteen years of sobriety. Several of those years I spent trying to turn my will and my life over the the care of an “Anonymous” God. I was prejudiced against “Organised Religion” and really didn’t think too much about going to church even as unhappy in sobriety as I was. My mother was a hellfire and damnation Christian that didn’t go to church much as I was growing up and I received the wrong message about God early in life, not that I hold any undue feelings against her for this now of course.
    Then I had children and along with that had some additional stresses come onto our family and finally I came to a place where I was open enough to hear the Lord calling me into his family. Even after that I still can see where at the beginning I was trying to add Jesus to my life not turning mine over to Him until I volunteered for Kairos Prison Ministry and witnessed first hand the transformational power of Jesus Christ. I came out of that experience realizing that I had been trying to put God in my pocket and all I wanted to do after that was get in His pocket. The Lord gave me a thirst for the knowledge of Him that has not ceased to this day and I pray never will, He placed that spring of life within me and woke me up from spiritual death. In studying His Word and striving to keep my life placed firmly under His authority, as hard as that at times has been, I have come to not only call Him Lord but to love and enjoy that He is my Lord. He is my joy, my treasure, and my everything. I have come to the knowledge that the only reason I exist is because He has chosen to will it. I feel that I now know what Paul meant to call it all dung, refuse, and or garbage before the wonderful splendor it is to know Jesus Christ.
    I believe in the complete inerrant nature of the Word of God and I believe to even begin to pick apart which areas of the Bible we are to count as worthy to follow and which we are not is to place our or the cultures understanding above the sovereign will of God and the guidance of His Holy Word. I find the Arminian view to be the most biblical yet do have Calvinist leanings as every Bible student should to some extent.
    In my view theologically most of our churches want to run to one of two camps. The camp of condemnation where every message is a fearful warning and God is presented as a perpetually disappointed parent or the camp where things like that are never discussed and God is nothing more than a fountain head of grace and love only leaving justice and righteousness out of the picture altogether. The messages that I like best to hear are what I believe to also be the most Biblical, grace and truth, justice and love in equal measures. God is Love but He will judge again and I want to be of the remnant that is taken into His resurrection! Well this was likely way more than you wanted Pastor but any time I get to share I can’t help but do that!

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