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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Today at Church

Today David Miller preached the first in a series of sermons entitled “Finding Hope.”  The ultimate hope for a Christian is found in John 3:16 (NIV): "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  It’s important to realize that though faith is one of the Christian virtues (faith, hope, and charity), hope is not exclusively a Christian phenomenon.  It is also possible to have faith in the devil--in hatred and all its manifestations.  One can hope for evil things as well as holy. This is essential to understanding much that plagues society.  People need--must have--hope. This is a basic need.  (Maslow's hierarchy of needs makes a fundamental error here.) If they can’t see their way to get it positively, they default back to original sin and get it that way.  The feeling of the need for redemption—in one way or another—is absolute.  The high of twisted hope is behind much criminal activity and societal dysfunctions resulting from unrealistic worldly expectations. The drug wars that we now observe are based on hope.  The real estate bubble was based on hope.  As Christians, we believe that this hope is delusional and destructive.  Twisted hope is based on sin.  The seven deadly sins are: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  When we place our hope in any of these things, we are denying Christ and eternal life.  The truth of Christ will set us free for even though things may be dark as Golgotha on Good Friday, it is followed by eternal life on Easter Sunday.  In Sunday school we developed our Christmas wish list.  The Deborah Methodist Women’s Circle every year gets our class (The Good Shepherd Class) Christmas presents.  They also provide a hearty breakfast the Sunday of the Christmas party.  Our first lesson today dealt with trusting God: “Not knowing what’s ahead can be as source of great anxiety.  But Christ assures us that we can find peace in trusting God and in being open to God’s will” (Upper Room 10/24/10).  Our second lesson concluded that “We can never outrun God, who has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  Like the prodigal, when we come home we will always be welcome” (UR 10/25/10).

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