Hope that lies within You

Cold and wet, not drenched but soggy – we just walked along the cliffs of Mendocino, above the angry waves crashing, daring us to step a bit closer. Beauty is sobered in the midst of the danger. In moments like these I am reminded that positive thinking only gets us so far. Positive thinking really holds no comfort amidst the treacherous. While there is safety on the cliff above, there is the ever-present reminder that with just one false step – in one quick moment – life changes forever. One minute your resting at home…the next your rushing to ER. Tragedy strikes and hope is confronted…will it stand up to the testing?

I get to spend some time our High School students this Sunday who are studying what it means to be an authentic Christian. The lesson for this Sunday focuses on suffering, persecution, hardship and the like…what happens to our hope in the midst of trauma? As Christians far too often we feel the need to compare our faith as superior and more beneficial than others. We hold up a sports figure and think that his success will be a great victory for Christianity because he professes Christ. So when he wins a game or does well we strut with pride but when he crashes and burns because of addiction or failure we cower in shame and discard him until he gets straightened out.

God meets us in the midst of our weakness. He calls us, restores us and establishes the power of the Holy Spirit deep within. This is the power of the hope that is within us. Peter calls us a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God in the midst of darkness in the midst of our weakness and trials not in the midst of our strength and success. We so quickly forget that we are pleasing to God not based on our own merit but based on our surrender of self-engradure and acceptance of the death of Christ. (see 1Peter2)

The suffering that once took center stage is down below and I am on the cliff above remembering, regretting, hoping that suffering will not come again. And yet life changes in an instant…is my hope strong enough to withstand another attack? Hoping in myself…no. Hoping in He who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and fully in control…yes.

“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” ~ 1Pet3:15

I am pretty sure Peter is not just talking about having a good verbal joust for those that disagree with us. Faith comes into attack when hope is confronted…hardship, persecution, fear grip us and rattle the hope that lies within and makes us wonder – is God true? is God enough? can I really trust him?

In the midst of our weakness…God is present. In the midst of our strength…God is still present. He is the hope that lies within us.

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.We can hear the sound of all creation sing – a song to heal the earth, a song to spark a dream.” ~ Col 1:27

A song from The Glorious Unseen: The Hope that Lies in You

We can hear the sound of all creation sing –
a song to heal the earth, a song to spark a dream.
Where are you optimists? We need your strength in this.
There’s a stirring in your soul that cannot be controlled.
This is the hope that lies in you.

We can hear the sound of all the earth rejoice,
with angels all around – lifting up their voice.
Where are you hopeful ones? Have we come undone?
There’s a stirring in your soul that cannot be controlled.
This is the hope that lies in you. This is the hope that lies in you.

And through all the questioning, You’ve been the hope in me.
Despite uncertainty, You’ve been the only constant thing.
And when I’m struggling, You keep on loving me the same.
This is the hope that lies in You.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
This is the hope that lies in You.
Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out. We need Your love to shine down.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out. We need the face of God now. 
Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

PS here is a link to Jake telling his story. Click here. 

Blogging again

I have not done this in a while. The first attempt at blogging found me with 3 followers – me, my son, and a guy who made a mistake. The second came out of an attempt to communicate with friends and family about our middle son Jacob and his “Journey Through Fire“. That blog grew to be a community that surrounded our family and carried us to the feet of Jesus. The blog was started by my oldest son who is an amazing writer and together we shared our hearts, our struggles and our victories.

Jacob’s “Journey Through Fire” came as the peak of a deep, dark desert time for me – a true “Dark Night of the Soul”. 5 years of wandering and trying to understand the direction that God was leading me.

Beginning January 1st I became the Lead Pastor at Cedar Grove Community Church. It is not what I was expecting…not what I was seeking. I thought that God had moved me out of being a pastor in fact I really did not want to be one. I was fed up and wounded. And yet God knew the plan that he had for me…

This blog is intended to focus on things to come as a pastor, leader, father, husband, friend and a broken yet restored child of God. While what I am is a result of what has been, so much more it is a result of who God has made me to be. So it seems right to go back to what I called the first blog as I seek to come to this journey with open hands, on bended knee. Hoping that both hardship and blessing will be open to the presence of Jesus on journey.

“For what great nation is there that has a God so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” Deut 4:7