Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Hope

I was asked to share about my trip to Honduras today during our staff prayer time.
Here are my notes...

A Hybels/Willow mantra is that “the local church is the HOPE of the world”

This got me thinking… what is the local church to me? and to my/our world.
Personally, the local church is:
a place of community/relationship
where I experience God in worship differently than in other experiences
where I receive teaching and am challenged to grow in my faith
where I have found purpose in using my gifts
The bad news is, that while these are all good and fine… these are pretty much all about me.

More globally, what is the local church to our "world?" and by that I mean America, the northwest in particular.
Statistics are everywhere on line, but about half of people believe in God but only 7% give positive comments regarding the Christian church. 20% of people view Christians negatively, 57% neutrally and only 17% positively

What I saw in Honduras was different and I am challenged and changed as a result.
The church there… it was a place of HOPE.

I heard a woman share her story of being healed of a tumor. 15 people made commitments to Christ in that service. This reminded me that God works in our lives for His glory. It also reminded me of the power of sharing our stories.

I watched a youth pastor living life with his students, investing in them in real one on one relationships. This reminded me of Kurt/Austin, Cliff/Kent and challenged me to be more open to this in my own life.

And I heard the story of a young, poor, simple pastor who is SO sensitive to the needs of the people in his community who are hurting and being abused that he is going to law school to become a lawyer so that he can bring hope as a part of his ministry there.

The church is not here to meet our needs. We are the church here to meet the needs of the world. - Erwin McManus


Jos said...

ooohhhh.... love the McManus quote.

April said...

I love how much the trip to Honduras has touched your heart Janet. You are a pretty amazing woman, and I am privileged to know you.

I think that we as humans have such finite minds that we really can't even grasp the entirety of what the church really is. It is ALL of the things you talked about, and more. Our problem is that we tend to focus on one thing at a time when we can and need to encompass it all. In not embracing ALL that the church is, someone is being left out, whether it is the world, the community, the local church, etc, or even ourselves. Christ really did set the Perfect example for us, but we tend to limit ourselves because we think, "Well, He was Jesus" (meaning He was also God). But Jesus Himself told us we not only can do all that He did, we can do greater things!

We all need to keep expanding our understanding of what the church is and what God intends for us to be. We're lucky at Sunset because I think Ron has a good sense of it and leads us to not only take care of our own, but to reach out and be HOPE.

BTW, I love your sharing because it always makes me think and go deeper. Please keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing like being on a mission. You're focused like you never are at home. You're there by God's grace and provision. You're not distracted by the usual concerns or the this-is-the-way-it-always-is attitude you have at home. He can show you things and use you out there. He can speak to you and inspire you and help you be an inspiration. It's no cliche to be changed by the experience. The cliche is when we get home we revert to life as it used to be. God, help us to remember and never be the same. And if its okay, send us again....blessings, dan

Melinda said...

An addendum to the Erwin McManus quote: Service is not serve-us.
You've been doing a great job being hope in my life. Thank you!