11-30-14 Christmas Gifts: The Gift of Hopes Fulfilled

Two weeks ago, I commented that it had been a hard week for several of our FCCers -- and this past week was even harder for a bunch more.  Now, some of that is simply seasonal (the holidays are festive for some people, and terribly stressful for others), but a lot of people just seem to be getting pounded on right about now.  Please keep your fellow Christian brothers and sisters in your prayers, if you would.

We spent some quality time in prayer this past week in our annual Thanksgiving Prayer Service on Wednesday.  That included some singing (unfortunately for everyone, it was led by me) and some Scripture readings, but the lion’s share of our time was spent in prayer as a large group, in small clumps, and individually.  It’s a simple service, but it’s always one that touches my heart in a very powerful way.  But I just think that if you’re going to have a holiday called “Thanksgiving,” it’s more than just a little silly not to spend a decent, significant chunk of time actually giving thanks.

Speaking of prayer, we’re asking all of our FCCers to commit to spending time in prayer for three specific people.  Now, just exactly who those people are is completely up to you, but we’d like you to let God lay a burden on your heart this Christmas season for three people who have no church home -- who may, in fact, have no relationship with the Lord at all.  We encourage you to spend at least a moment or two out of your daily prayer time laying them before the Lord, every day in December.  And when you do, don’t just pray that God might “somehow” reach them -- please pray for the opportunity and the moxy to reach out to them yourself.  Tell them about what Christmas means to you.  Tell them about what it means to have a relationship with God.  Invite them to come to church with you at some point this December.  In short, pray that God involve you in their lives.

In our message this week, we began our Advent series, looking at “Christmas Gifts” that God has given us through Christ.  This week, we looked at the gift of hopes fulfilled.

Now, that word, “hope,” has different definitions.  It can mean, “This is what I’d like to see happen...” or “I’ll lean on X without enough guarantee to use the word ‘know’ in this situation...” or “I place my confidence here without solid, tangible proof -- because I know the character of the person who’s made this promise to me...”  

Too many Christians toss out the word, “hope,” and nod to those first two definitions, when what the Bible draws us to is more like that last one.  God has made promise after promise to us, and He’s always kept every single one.  We looked at how many prophecies about the coming Messiah were perfectly fulfilled in Jesus -- and then asked, if God was on top of something that significant, that complex, from the very beginning of time, what exactly in our lives seems too big or complicated for Him to handle?

The fact is, we’ve been given a tremendous gift of being able to hope in a totally faithful God -- one who never fails to come through in fulfilling the hopes that He’s given us.  That gift of hope brought you from death into life, once upon a time.

How can you re-gift that to someone else today?