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Practical Leadership

Got Hope?

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Hope is essential! Do you have hope? Do you know what hope is?

Hope is essential! Do you have hope? Do you know what hope is?

Hope is our forward outlook to be in Christ forever. This produces Joy. Heb. 11:1, "the substance of things hoped for".

Principal passages: Luke 12:15-21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; I Cor. 4:8-13; II Cor. 4:7-18; 5:6-8; Rom. 15:13; Phil. 1:21-24; I Tim. 1:1; II Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 6:18-19; 1 Pet 1:1-2.

Hope is our confidence in God for our future that is in His hands. Faith sees what is ahead when our eyes and thinking cannot. If we see what he has done in the past, we can have hope for the future too. Also, a future time when we are with God for eternity. Hope is also a Jewish metaphor for heaven, which also means an unshakable conviction in what must be, such as the North Star that guides ships; without it, a ship would be lost, but we know the Star will not go away. This is where we get the assurance of faith. Faith is not mere belief; it is real, as in genuine and authentic so we are sure in Whom we trust and to whom we go to live for righteousness.
Hope is our future in Christ in glory, in Heaven. When we keep focused on our circumstances, we will see little to no hope. We can only attain it by being in Christ, with our eyes focused upon Him. Christ is to be our anchor, our hope. Hope calls us to patience and confidence for service in adversity, to endure suffering, and to continue in His call (Rom. 5:1-5; 8: 18; 25). Hope must be our focus to our self, and to others, it must never be faked, or depressed (I John 3:3; 4:18)! Hope is the effect of obedience and trust in our Lord (Heb. 6:18.) If you have no hope, then you have no vision and purpose, no trust in the One who Loves.

Hope is from these passages is a call to continue in prayer and faithfulness. In that way, we can continue to be better used by our Lord. We are to remain firm in our stand of faith even when life is falling apart around us, and when we do not see hope or the light at the end of the tunnel. The call is to be encouraged and to stand firm. When we persevere in our faith, we allow God to use us even more where we are. Then, we learn and we grow further in Him, which helps us grow and be used more. This is circular. The more we endure, the more we grow. Then, the more we are used, the more we go through and so forth. This is the spiral of our faith-building that draws us higher in Him. When we are growing, we are ministering, too. As our faith grows, we are more likely to hear God's call, see the needs of others, and find opportunities to serve. Our faith development is not to be selfish, although the primary benefit is for ourselves, but we also are to see how it affects others. When we grow, then we inspire, encourage, and minister to others faster and better!

Living hope is one of the main, running themes of the epistle of First Peter. It does not indicate wishing or thinking positively; rather, it refers to the confidence and conviction we have that our living God keeps His promises and secures us in Him. It is the assurance-and fact-that God has redeemed us, will bless us, and will care for us (1 Peter 1:1-13, 21; 3:15).

So what is our call in this? To be joyful, thankful, and glad! To honor and enjoy our inherence and love that we have received, so it overflows to others around us. Then, we can grow and endure through all things! Why? Because, we will face trials and sufferings, they are a part of this world and life. There is no escape from them. We can either learn to grow or withdraw and stagnate!

We are to love Him, even though we cannot see Him or touch Him. This may go against common sense, but the reality of His grace and impact can sometimes be hidden by our desires, circumstances, and feelings. This is the test of faith and trust, if we see no hope, we then must look to our Lord; then the hope is given and can be seen. The reward of our faith far outweighs any endurance or struggle we face. The joy we have is real and significant (John 20:29).
For leaders:
By faith? Christian living is about our lives being centered in Christ and trusting Him for our provision, yet not waiting around, doing nothing. Faith calls us to action, not to complacency or foolishness. Real, effectual faith is our conviction of trust and confidence-that we do not merely believe, for even the demons do that, but that we have assurance beyond doubt. It is the object of our faith that is paramount, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the substance that gives us hope. We do not have blind faith because what we seek and place first is evidenced and supported. As Christians, we do not have fables and myths; we have reality. The evidence is the reality of history, archeology, and personal, life-changing testimonies of countless people, as evidenced in this passage, throughout history, and today; we can be centered in Jesus Christ. Even science points to a Creator who is perfect in character, possessing the fullness all the Omni attributes, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence…. In addition, God is not only righteousness-He is personal and involved in our lives, and calls us to be righteous in our thinking and living so we can take His lead and live a life that is all about trusting God. This does not mean perfection; it means we strive to do our best for Hs glory. Yes we can; with our eyes and ears, we can see and feel His presence just as we can see what the wind does even when we do not see the wind itself. God leaves a visible wake that ripples through all times and peoples, which we can ride on by faith for our betterment and His glory. What He has for us is better than what we think we want (Psalm 119:142119:151; John 6:64 ; 7:5; Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-11; 8; 10: 14-17; Gal. 3:1-14; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:5 ; 2:18; Heb. 11:1-16; James 2:14-26; 2 Pet. 1:16; Jude 3).
  1. What verbs and adjectives can you think of to describe faith and hope?
  1. What do you expect to do and receive in the Christian faith? What does God except you to do and be? How are these different or similar?

3. How would you describe what it means to have full confidence, trust, and assurance in Christ?

4. When have you exercised in what you hoped for and it happened? How did you feel? What about when it has not yet come about?

5. How have you exercised a deep conviction of trust and confidence in something? A stock tip? A school? A job? A family remember or friend? How does this relate to how you trust in Christ?

6. How do you know that what you hope for is in line with God's will? What must our real hope be in? How can you implement this more?

7. What can you do to know and feel that Jesus Christ is real when you can't see Him or physically behold what He has for you? How do you know He is real?

8. What gets in the way of your having more authentic hope? How is your response of faith evidenced as you live out your life? What about during times of stress and confusion?

  1. How does it make you feel that you have God's approval when you exercise real and effectual faith?
  1. How is your life centered in Christ? Where does trusting Him for your provision come into play? How have you seen this at work in your church? What happens when we just wait and do nothing? What is a balance between the right timing and when we are to act?
  1. How has faith called you to action? How has complacency or foolishness or apathy gotten in the way of what Christ had or has for you? What do you need to do now about developing more faith?
  1. What can you and your church do to communicate encouragement or staying power; so it is contagious for others, as in "you can do it, too?"

© 1992, 2001, 2004, R. J. Krejcir, Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development

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