Sunday, May 15, 2011


It was a tremendous joy to be able to share with the Grand Valley Homeschool Association graduates this weekend! Get the MP3 of the message bellow, the full notes here and the abbreviated notes below the MP3.

75% of the people around you are stressed out. 15% are depressed and 15% of those will commit suicide. 36% are lonely and 25% don’t have one real friend. 22% have an STD. 33% of women and 17% of men were sexually abused as children. 26% of the young people around you have been raised in single parent homes. 20% of the population is either unemployed or underemployed. Home values are plummeting; some areas have seen values drop over 20%. Foreclosures are at their highest level in history. 17% of college students engage in self injury like cutting. 14 million people in the United States abuse alcohol (7.4% or 1 in 13) and 95% of alcoholics will die from their disease and they’ll die approximately 26 years earlier than their normal life expectancy. 25,000 people each year are killed in alcohol related vehicle accidents. 8% of the US population uses illegal drugs.

No matter what side of the political, ideological, theological or philosophical spectrum people are on there is a common sense of dismay and disillusionment with the way things are and apprehension about where they’re heading.
 A Scottish Proverb articulates this reality, stating, “Were it not for hope the heart would break.”
 Mark Twain said, “Lord save us all from... a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.”
 It has been said that, “Some see a hopeless end, while others see an endless hope.”
 I want to talk about that endless hope today and encourage you to enjoy and share the hope you have!

Scripture tells us to Hope in the living God, the Savior of all men, in Jesus alone, in His name, in His Word, in His love, in His grace, in His protection, in His provision and in the eternal life that He offers. We're also told that those who hope in God will find rest, they will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint, they will be delivered and they will have the endurance to persevere.

Because of Christ, I can say, Like the Psalmist said in Ps.71:14 - "As for me, I will always have hope.
" We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Heb.6:19)! Ps.25:3 promises that no one whose hope is in Him will ever be put to shame.

Hopelessness is a quagmire of weaknesses, fears, insecurities, anxieties and burdens that drown the hopeless in despair. 
There are some interesting paradoxes we find when dealing with those issues. Weaknesses are beaten by getting weaker, fears are crushed by fearing more, insecurities are relieved by losing my securities, anxieties are overcome by giving up control and burdens are lessened by taking on a burden!
 Weaknesses are not corrected through getting stronger but rather through dying and allowing Him to live His life through me, in the power of His Holy Spirit. 
Fears are not crushed by fearing less but rather by fearing more - by fearing God rather than anything else. 
Insecurities are not relieved by gaining a confident self esteem, but rather by losing myself in Him, exposing my vulnerabilities and not hiding them. 
Anxieties, which at their core are a fear of losing control, aren’t overcome by gaining control but rather by losing it in surrender to God. As Piper says, “Anxieties must be cast, not carried.” It is in casting them on our Savior, through prayer, that they are overcome. 
Burdens are not, it turns out, lessened by casting them off, but rather by taking on a different one, His burden which is light and His yoke which is easy. His burden and yoke are the daily fellowship with Him, in His word, prayer and fellowship with other believers! 
Remember Jesus’ invitation in Mt.11:28 - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
 Life isn’t found in finding it but in losing it!
 Ultimately, hopelessness isn’t overcome by finding hope in every circumstance but rather, by finding true hope, the God over all circumstances.

Scripture tells us that when things seem hopeless, be strong and take heart, hold unswervingly to your hope because God is faithful, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer and content in any situation - through HIM, knowing there is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

God personally promises you, in Is.49:23 - "Those who hope in me will not be disappointed."

Hope does not disappoint us, Hope purifies us, Hope lives in us through Jesus, Hope gives us faith and love, Hope gives us confidence and Hope makes us very bold.

God promised His people in exile under Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer.29:11). Even in the worst of circumstances God was clear, He alone offered hope regardless of the circumstances His people were in. Rom.8:28 is true!!!!

Before Christ you were separate from Him, excluded from His family, without hope and without God in the world, grieving like the rest of the world, who have no hope.

You have a real hope few others have.
 1 Peter 3:15 tells you to, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." The people around you desperately need the hope you have. Share it with them! (get ideas here).

You have a hope that is secure no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. 
My prayer for you today is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians in chapter 1:18-19: 
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Finally, Rom.15:13 - “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Get the 2008 Commencement Speech here. 

Scripture: 1 Tim.4:10, 1 Tim.1:1, Mt.12:21, Ps.119: 43, 49, 74, 81, 114, 147, P.147:11, 1 Peter 1:13, Ps.33:18-22, Titus 1:2. Ps.62:5, Is.40:31, 2 Cor.1:10, 1 Thes. 1:3. Ps.31:24, Heb.10:23, Rom.12:12, Php.4:12-13, Pr.23:18. Rom.5:5, 1 Jn.3:1-3, 1 Peter 1:3, Col.1:15, Ps.71:5, 2 Cor. 3:12.
 Eph.2:12, 1 Thes. 4:13.

Stats: 1National Health Interview Survey, 2WHO report, BBC, Jan 9, 2001, 3Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2003, 41990 Gallup Study (only relevant one I could find), 5June 2006 issue of American Sociological Review, 6CDC and American Social Health Association, 7Research by Dr. Jim Harper, Harvard Psychology professor, 8U.S. Census Bureau, November, 2009 report, 9Cornel Research Program on Self Injurious Behavior in adolescents and young adults 10,, CDC 2008 11 and Kidscape Feb. 2011 report – “Virtual Lives: It is more than a game, it is your life” 12.

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