Dear Hope Family,
Thank you for the prayers and support for the Destination Rest seminar put on by the Barnabas Center at Hope this past Wednesday evening. We hosted over 215 folks in our worship hall for an engaging, timely, and redemptive talk through fear and anxiety. The opportunity to host so many folks from outside of our church in our building was exhilarating, and the content of the seminar was deeply refreshing for me personally. Ethan Smith deserves special commendation for arranging the details for the seminar as well as overseeing the evening, and alongside Ethan I extend my deepest thanks to Tori Petty, Jeanne Lenham, Mary Katherine Prince, and Annelise Whittemore who made sure our guests were treated to great food and warm hospitality. We are planning on hosting another Barnabas Center Training seminar in late August. Make sure to make room for that event which will be here before you know it!
Our plodding path through the first chapters of the book of Acts is coming to a close with this week and next week’s sermons. One of the intentional aims of this series has been to confront our congregation with the undaunted, courageous, and gracious mission of God through his church to the watching world, which is sometimes receptive, sometimes hostile in its exposure to the glory of the Resurrected Lord Jesus. These final two sermons of our series present us with two of the most colorful and unlikely converts to Christianity: the Ethiopian eunuch and the raging persecutor of the church, Saul. Both of these accounts of people encountering the Risen Lord Jesus and being welcomed into the family of God are particularly challenging and convicting for those of us who have logged significant time as Christians and members of the church. At the most basic level they remind us of the wonder of being saved by grace and the wonderful goodness of the Good News.
I have been reflecting upon an old quotation from Max Lucado for several weeks as we have been witnessing and reflecting upon conversion after conversion in the Book of Acts:
“There’s a direct correlation between the accuracy of our memory and the effectiveness of our mission. If we’re not teaching people how to be saved, it’s perhaps because we’ve forgotten the tragedy of being lost. If we’re not teaching the message of forgiveness, it may be because we don’t remember what it was like to be guilty. And if we’re not preaching the cross, it could be that we’ve subconsciously decided that—God forbid—somehow we don’t need it.”
My continued prayer for myself and our church is that in our exposure to these case studies in conversion we would remember “the tragedy of being lost” and the glory of a God who found us – so that we can, in turn, find a heart and courage for our participation in God’s world mission!
Grace and peace,