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Where is the hope?

My church celebrated its 54th anniversary yesterday. We had a guest speaker, the president of my school, Dr. Rick Reed. He preached a great sermon from John 15:1-8, talking about becoming more fruitful. Ultimately, from the passage, it was concluded that abiding in Christ's word + asking in Christ's name = abounding in Christ's fruit. There was much emphasis on the need to be in God's word regularly. He actually quoted some sobering statistics regarding evangelical Christians in Canada. To put it bluntly, most who claim to be evangelical Christians don't read the Scripture regularly. 

Despite those statistics, however, the encouragement from God's word was refreshment for my soul. We had a fellowship time following the service and I was able to have a visit with Dr. Reed's wife, who was one of my professors in my first year at seminary. 

Last week, there was a point when I felt very overwhelmed with all the negative things going on. Aside from the usual sorrow flowing from the news of the country and the world, there were things among Christians online that never seem to end. There is a new debate every day, a new controversy, a new shocking story to share. In the face of those events, it seems like people cannot resist fomenting indignation. I have come to believe that some people live on a diet of conflict; a lack of it seems abnormal to them, and when there isn't any available, they create it. While exposing church controversy is necessary, where are the voices who remind us of the hope we have? Hope isn't nearly as titilating as controversy, so perhaps those voices are simply not heard.

I'm so thankful for Sunday morning when the purpose is to gether and be reminded of the hope of the resurrection. Even when the music is too loud (as it was yesterday) I am thankful that there is a place where we gather to worship. I'm thankful that it is a glimpse of what is to come; the eternal worship of Christ.

There is hope. It may be hard to find at times, but if we just open up our Bibles and feed on the truth found in it, we will find the hope. A steady of diet of online dialogue, even from the fingertips of Christians, may not expose us to the hope in Christ; and it may actually be harmful. The hope is there. God is still on the throne. But we do need to separate ourselves from the conflict in order to see it. Even though I really believe worship is a daily exercise, I'm thankful that we have a day set aside when I can focus on Christ alone and leave the indignation aside.

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