Tag Archives: hope

Calling, Sacrifice, Reward

Every calling is a gift. Every gift requires sacrifice. Every sacrifice brings a reward. Every reward is only gained by giving the gift, making the sacrifice, chasing the calling that God has given. The greater the calling, the greater the gift. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. The greater the reward, the more worth every ounce of sacrifice it took to get there.

God the Father paid the ultimate sacrifice. He asked His Son to make a sacrifice for every one of us. His Son begged to get out of it. But God did not give in. Despite His Son begging so intensely as to sweat tears of blood, God stayed the course and directed His Son to go through agony for a time.

There is nothing that could relieve or lighten the agony of sacrifice that had to be endured. Jesus came from heaven and was born into a cave amongst peasants. He worked hard as a carpenter’s son for 30 years. Then, for three years he roamed homeless teaching and healing people. People were constantly trying to kill him from his birth throughout his ministry life. Jesus did not merely suffer three days. He gave up heaven to come here. Every day was painful sacrifice, culminating in the ultimate death. But the calling on Jesus from God was never about the sacrifice of pain, toil or death. The calling was to bring HEALING to all people, reaching them with the love of the Father.

Every person has a calling. The greater the person, the greater the calling. The greater the calling, the greater the sacrifice. We’re not promised for life to be easy. We’re promised difficulty. But we’re promised that God has a plan and will, eventually, use every bit of sacrifice along the way for His good purposes. We often cannot see or fathom any good that could possibly come of the pain of sacrifice along the way. But it happens every time.

My favorite quote from Mother Theresa is: “I know God will never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

The strength of Jesus or any of us is not displayed by us not struggling, not begging for relief, not asking questions and demanding answers, not questioning if this is all worth it or necessary. No. The strength of Jesus and every one of us comes from feeling and struggling through all of that and somehow pressing on. We may sometimes only move forward in a crawl, we may sometimes miss a step, we may sometimes not see the next step in front of us, but to keep plodding onward. This is the display of courage and strength.

The picture of Jesus’s strength isn’t in His resurrection. The picture of His strength is in walking forward on Palm Sunday, walking forward into Gethsemane, walking forward carrying His cross through the streets to Galgotha, all the while knowing what’s to come and the horrible sacrifice it will be. He struggled, He cried, He begged for it to not happen, but He did it anyway. His mom watched in horror as her oldest child went through agony. His brothers, friends and disciples watched in horror. They were torn apart, heartbroken, terrified for his life and their own. Jesus begged for relief for himself and those he loved. But the calling was greater than the sacrifice. The sacrifice always hurts us and those we love. But the calling is worth the sacrifice. The calling is always worth the sacrifice. That’s the promise of Hope we have from Him.

Future-Present Hope

From my devotions this morning… I did not write this. Instead, as happens so often in my devotional time, God had for me exactly what I needed to hear today. I bolded and underlined the sentence that struck right to my heart and filled it with Hope.


John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

You may identify with the concept, “A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.” It is hard not to get dragged down by the struggles of your children. Jesus recognized this tendency and offers a solutionÑan eternal perspective. When you are certain about your future, you are better able to face the present. An eternal mindset will help you maintain a hope-filled perspective because our home is not of this world!

When you or your kids are suffering, remember that Christ has conquered the world, and one day we will be with Him. Until then, beware of desiring pleasure on this earth more than Christ. Take comfort in knowing that this life is temporary and let your pain lead you towards dependence on Him.

Remember that your home is not in this world, but in heaven.

Risk for love

Would you be willing to die if it would shake the nation and awaken it to the love of God?

Would you be willing to die if it would shake just one person and awaken them to the love of God?

Now, instead of giving it up, would you risk your life to shake just one person?

Would you risk your life with an unknown result? Simply for the hope of shaking a life?

Brett Dennen – Make You Crazy

Shoes for the Hopeless



‘Tis a season for hope.

But hope for what? Hope in what?

I think maybe that’s what I like most about Christmas… hope. It’s hope for that moment. That moment that is Christmas. It’s hope for that moment that you miss entirely if you’re not paying attention. The moment with your family and cousins and the kids are laughing and wrapping paper is flying and you can smell dinner and the burnt rolls and there’s snow outside and you just stop and listen. Love is in the air. I hope I catch that moment. I hope I soak it in. I hope I don’t miss it. In that moment I’m surrounded. I’m surrounded by hope. The hope that a baby was born… and families 2000 years later still gather together to celebrate him. The hope that Christ has come. The hope that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The hope that, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” Love is in the air. Hope is all around.

There is a park in Detroit… a small park at 2nd & Selden that many of you have come to love. This park has been a reminder of darkness to those around it for so long. But it is being transformed. It is being redeemed. It is becoming hope. Hope for a warm meal. Hope for a better place. It is becoming a reminder of the hope that is in the love of Christ being poured out through his people. That is my hope.

I’m surrounded. I’m surrounded by hope. I see it in bags all around me. It is amazing what God can do with an e-mail and a Facebook message sent out from just one person. It goes from that person to another and another. It flows from one to the next. And in a week’s time there is an apartment literally overflowing with people and clothing and bags and… hope. Bags of Hope spilling out into the hallway outside.

I think Christmas is coming today. I hope we see the moment. Watch for it. We’ll be surrounded by it. Today there will be little Christmases happening all around. I believe we’ll see it in the eyes and hearts and smiles of our friends and strangers alike. I believe we’ll see it in the cups of hot chocolate. I believe we’ll see it in smiles. I believe we’ll see it in bags.

December 20th is a day I’ve been hoping goes well for a month. We had hoped to have three BBQs in December like every other month. It seems God had something else in mind. So now our hope is in one. It’s in one BBQ, yes… but that’s not the one I’m talking about. It’s in one day and one park, yes. But it’s more. It’s in one body. It’s in one Christ. It’s in his body working as one to remind each other that when it seems there is no hope, we’ve missed it and we need a reminder… There is hope. There is hope for a better future. There is hope for a better tomorrow. But even more, there is hope for a better today.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11

His desire is to give us hope. Our desire today is to give hope. Today our desire is one with the Creator God. When the body of Christ lines up its deepest desire with God’s even for one day, a lot can happen. I don’t hope it does. I know it will. My hope is that we don’t miss it. My hope is that we see it; that we hear it. My hope is that every one of us catches that moment and savors it. That moment that is Christmas. That moment that is a celebration of Christ.

I’ve written before about the Robbie Seay Band. For those who still haven’t checked them out, you’re really missing out. This particular song caught my ear and heart a couple weeks ago. It’s been simmering and taking shape in my soul as I’ve thought about and anticipated this day. Yesterday as the snow fell so beautifully, so warmly I could not help but feel it even more.

Robbie Seay Band — Song of Hope (Heaven Come Down)

All things bright and beautiful You are
All things wise and wonderful You are
In my darkest night, You brighten up the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know that You are near is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

All things new
I can start again
Creator, God
Calling me Your friend
Sing praise, my soul
To the Maker of the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know You and be loved is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing

And isn’t that what Christmas is about? The God of heaven came down. And isn’t that why I’m surrounded by Bags of Hope? Because the God of heaven came down. And that’s why we do what we do. Because the God of heaven came down. Today, the God of heaven will come down. Today, the God of heaven will be with us. Watch for the moment. Listen for it. Let it resound from your soul to your smile. Experience Christmas in Detroit.

I’ll see you all this afternoon.

Today is a day of hope.


A hint of Christmas to come
Bags of Hope for men.
Bags of Hope for women.