Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sunday Sermon Notes 3.2.08

James 5v7-11

7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming.

See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

9 Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.


What is it about the Lord's coming that is to sustain the patience of these believers in the face of suffering?

They, and their friends and neighbors are helpless to cease the inexcusable injustices inflicted by the grossly rich. These humble believers cannot force the powerfully wealthy to pay the required wages. They cannot appeal to the Empire for justice, for the Empire is not interested in their plight. What are they to do?

Take up arms against their oppressors? (aka Bono - Rattle and Hum version of Silver and Gold...)

Harbor bitterness in their heart?

Quarrel and fight with one another?

Surrender to despair and cynicism?

What are your options for dealing with the terrible tragedies of the twentieth century? Regardless of whether you feel our country is responsible for any atrocities, as a fellow human, how do we cope with the inconceivable inhumanities of the last hundered, two hundred, two thousand, etc years of our existence?

Ignore it as long as possible?

Numb the pain?

Fight against it?

Rationalize it?

Join it?

This is where the genius of James comes to light: his wisdom on the age old problem is to be tranquil in the midst of one's personal suffering. This is not a denial of reality, nor about a stiff upper lip, not about gutting your way through the pain, nor about seeking to gain something through the pain. When suffering buffets your heart, mind and body, resist it with shalom, with peace, with hope.

But what fuels this kind of peace and hope?

James insistst that the Lord's coming is near, thus continue to endure the suffering with a strong heart, a heart feeding on the peace of Christ. first read, I wasn't sure how this fact of Christ's return was supposed to help dispel the despair that creeps into the corners of my heart.

Here's what I've got so far:

Another way to read the text is thus - "Continue holding up under the suffering, for the Royal Arrival of the King is closer than you think."

Taking up all that is in this text, here is the impact of that verse/passage as I understand it.

James is not telling them to hang in there because soon Jesus is going to take them out of this world into heaven. James is telling them to hang in there because Jesus is just around the corner, Jesus the Almighty King, the Judge of Justice and Compassion, the Farmer who Harvests Peace and Blessings.

As King, Jesus has an authoratative presence about him that changes people and situations - this was true of his life in Galilee.

As Judge, Jesus has a wise understanding of people, their motives, their faults, and their intentions. He also is completely committed to Justice for the oppressed, as well as Compassion for all who are hurting.

As Farmer, Jesus has a unwavering commitment to sowing peace into the hearts of all men who will trust him to do so; he is willing to cultivate our lives with his Teachings so that our obedience will bring forth the kind of fruitfulness that marked the life of Job.

James is telling his friends: hang in there, King Jesus the Farmer Judge is as close as the other side of that door; he hears everything, he sees all, he also is at work in everything - exerting his authority, justice, and peace NOW through us when we obey Him.

When Jesus returns, he is bringing Heaven down with Him to restore the earth; that means that our work, in the midst of suffering, is to continue the work that he started at his first Arrival, the kind of work he will bring to completion at his second arrival.

James indicates that there is no rapture; when Jesus comes as a King with his Royal Procession, he comes to clean up the good creation, to put an end to evil, to put in place the kind of justice we long for, and to complete his harvest of Peace.

The world will be as it ought when Jesus comes, so continue to do the work now that he will complete at the End of All Things.

Jesus is close enough, full of compassion and mercy, that he will not leave us, will not let us go through suffering unaided. He is close, he is coming, and we can have confidence that our obedient faith-works are part of a grander strategy to reconcile and renew all things to God. Why will our work succeed? Because it is rooted in, flowing from, and lead by our King Jesus the Farmer Judge.

Okay, so that is a very long post; but this kind of theology is new to me. But it is fascinating...and encouraging.

America the Prison

According to this latest news release, almost one in a hundred Americans is in prison to start off the new year. That is more than any other country.

The newsstory goes on to cite that some states put more money into their corrections system than their higher education system. California spends the most overall money on their prisoners, over 8 billion dollars; Texas is second with over three billion.

My friend Jon Davison is a probation officer, he has many, many, many sad stories. Mostly sad because a few key changes could make a huge difference in many lives. But the state and federal government have set policies that incarcerate too many people for crimes that could be punished in a much more constructive and effective manner.

But will education be the answer? Most incarcerated men have significant moral problems stemming from the absence, abuse, or neglect of their father. What is the moral strategy that will accompany the education and vocational one? With the success of Prison Fellowship, states should at least allow alternative measures for restoration to full humanity. The terrible dehuamnization that occurs in too many prisons is unacceptable. Except that our politicians accept it.

Politics is not the answer. Yet we cannot get a better solution without them. I suppose I should find out what the policy statements are by McCain and Obama regarding our corrections system. Oh the difference they could make if they encouraged states to pursue best practices for reducing recidivism rates.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Church is a Non-Option

Organized religion, especially Catholic and Protestant Christianity, are becoming a non-factor in the life of Americans. This report on a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life which interviewed more than 35,000 adults reveals that many people are leaving their denomination - some for a different one, some for a nondenominational church, and some for no church at all.

The U.S. religious marketplace is extremely volatile, with nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of their upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious affiliation altogether, a new survey finds.

Here are some other interesting quotes from the newsreport on this survey:
One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.

On the Protestant side, changes in affiliation are swelling the ranks of nondenominational churches, while Baptist and Methodist traditions are showing net losses.

Many Americans have vague denominational ties at best. People who call themselves "just a Protestant," in fact, account for nearly 10 percent of all Protestants.

Although evangelical churches strive to win new Christian believers from the "unchurched," the survey found most converts to evangelical churches were raised Protestant.

So what is a church to do if it chooses to stay organized, stay together, and stay loyal to Jesus? Does the fact that less and less people are open to organized religion automatically exclude interest in Jesus?

This strikes me as another reason for Christians to take very seriously their attitudes and actions at work, at school, at home, while out shopping, driving, and voting. It doesn't really matter what a Christian is like when he is at a church event, what matters is what he is like in everyday life with the people around him.

If the church is increasingly a non-option for people, that doesn't mean Jesus has to be a non-option either. But if you rely on your church to communicate about Jesus, not many people will hear or listen. Your everyday life needs to commmunicate something about Jesus, or else people won't hear much at all. Or what they do hear from the voices of skeptics and athiests will have no alternative.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Sermon Notes - 2.24.08

James 5:1-6 (TNIV)
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.
2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.

You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.
You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.


James has harsh words for these wealthy landowners who are withholding wages from their workers. Families who live day to day are going without food so that these rich farmers can have the most sumptuous foods.

As I began to work on this sermon, I was instantly reminded of a prior post on Blood Bananas. This kind of injustice doesn't go away, it keeps coming back in different forms. When will it end? What are we to do about it?

That's the question that keeps coming back to me: there aren't any rich farmers in our congregation withholding wages nor growing obese on the blood money. So what to do with the text? We don't have any employers doing this evil deed. And I don't know that we have any workers who are having their wages withheld in such gross injustice.

But do we know of anyone who is being oppressed like this?

The text says: The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. Do we hear the cries also?

Shane Claiborne writes:
The truth is that there is a lot of noise out there drowning out quiet voices, and many people have stopped listening to the cries of their neighbors. Lots of folks have put their hands over their ears to drown out the suffering. Institutions have distanced themselves from the disturbing cries. And God has a special ear for their groaning, regardless of who else is listening. It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle. - Pg 128 Irresistible Revolution

The workers of this Scripture text live in poverty because of the overall empire economics: harvesters can only live day to day because of the wages they are paid. The wages are too low for them to save back any for hard times in the future. Poverty is their only option, no matter how hard they work. And there are millions of families around the world that this is also true of as well.

Beth Shulman researched the over 30 million individuals in America alone who are paid low-wage jobs, the result being that they don't have enough money to save for future hard times. They barely have enough to cover their current costs. And if they work more than one job, then they don't have enough time for those who need it. Which creates other problems.

What do we do if we do hear the cries of the underpaid or the paid withheld?

Shane Claiborne has this to say to Christians who ought to hear the cries:
And yet I am convinced that Jesus came not just to prepare us to die but to teach us how to live. Otherwise, much of Jesus’ wisdom would prove quite unnecessary for the afterlife. After all, how hard could it be to love our enemies in heaven? And the kingdom that Jesus speaks so much about is not just something we hope for after we die, but is something we are to incarnate now. - pg 117

Of course, everyone was forewarned that in this kingdom everything is backward and upside down – the last are first and the first are last, the poor are blessed and the mighty are cast from their thrones. And yet people were attracted to it. They were ready for something different from what the empire had to offer. - pg 118

As the old Franciscan slogan goes, “Preach the gospel always. And when necessary, use words.” Or as our seventy-year-old revolutionary Catholic nun, Sister Margaret puts it, “We are trying to shout the gospel with our lives.” Many spiritual seekers have not been able to hear the words of Christians because the lives of Christians have been making so much horrible noise. It can be hard to hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit amid the noise of Christendom. - pg 127

Maybe it is worth Christians asking whether they are contributing to the persecution of harvesters? Do the products we purchase fuel the abuses of low-wage workers? This is the case with the bananas. Remember Kathy Lee & Wal-mart? Children sewing clothes for pennies while others made hundreds of millions of dollars? This report briefly recounts some of the abuses.

Is it time for Christians, in this global economy, to make sure that our purchases don't fuel the cries of the harvesters? In this day and age we can work harder at tracking down where are money goes when we make a purchase. And in this day of innovation, there are many companies working harder to make products justly.

Isn't that something we could do? Out of love?

Or am I too lazy. Or worse, apathetic...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February Fun

On a snowy Friday afternoon, Jamil and Amy brought Alia and Hannah over to our place to play in the backyard. We had a blast.

Prior to Jamil and Amy showing up, Tara and the kids got the ball rolling with snow...the first snowman of the year. The kids had never rolled that big of a snowball before, they thought it was the coolest thing.
Isaac and Emma were proud of their creation. Emma even had a name for it: Princess.

Emma and Alia had a good time together.

Hannah and Eli enjoyed sitting in their sleds. Emma tried to cheer them up, but the two of them seemed content to just sit and quietly watch. Now we know what to do with them if they get fussy...put on eight layers of clothes and let them sit in the snow for a bit!

Jamil was the sledmaster; he spent most of the afternoon shoving the kids down the "hill". He was really good at it too.
Amy, being a kid at heart, had to try the hill also. Jamil enjoyed shoving her down the hill.

My job was to pull the kids one at a time around the yard. The fun part was slinging the guys up onto a slight incline that got them airborne! Of course Tara warned me that someone was going to get hurt. And of course she was right. And of course that didn't really stop us. And of course it was alot of fun. And of course we quit after Levi flew off the sled and skidded onto the icepacked cement pad. He only had a slight lip bleed. But it was alot of fun!

To cool down the guys packed snow together and then ate it. When they weren't riding in the sled they were eating snow. The pretty much walked around the backyard for most of the afternoon eating their snowball. I don't know why.

I tried to liven the party up a bit by hauling Eli and Hannah around the yard. I thought I might get a smile or two out of them. Hannah takes her sledding very seriously, but Eli did smirk a couple of times.

It was one of those wintry Friday afternoons we'll talk about for along time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blood Bananas...

Last Fall I watched the movie Blood Diamonds, a story of the sordid diamond trade in Sierra Leone. The real story is probably more evil than the movie can depict, and the price of diamonds exceeds what money can buy. Apparently it is worse for bananas.

Listening to NPR: Fresh Air yesterday afternoon, I listened to an interview with Dan Koeppel about the history of the banana. It is a bloody fruit. And I just bought two bunches of them Sunday night at Scotts. We eat alot of bananas in our home, and I've never wondered about their heritage.

When Tara and I went on our Carribbean cruise several years ago, we took a tour through a banana plantation. It was a neat experience, but they didn't share much about the ugly side of the business. In Koeppel's book, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World he traces the history of the banana from Southeastern Asia to its industrialized form in Central America. I suppose there are two sides to every story, I've not read the book, so I'm assuming that there is somebody out there that can prove certain facts in the book as misleading. But assuming that the gist of the book is correct, the rise of the banana as THE most popular fruit in the United States is enmeshed in evil.

Bananas are a bloody fruit. We eat them completely unaware as to the real cost; we might purchase them for $.55 a pound, but it is because the laborers of Costa Rica, Honduras and other countries were enslaved, beaten, murdered, and terrorized by corporations, governments and armies so that a few could make a ridiculous profit.

So should we stop eating bananas?

The list goes on: the meat we eat is often a product of disgusting, cruel, and inhuman systems of slaughter and breeding; the tomatoes we eat are picked by underpaid and overworked immigrant workers; and on and on and on. Almost everything has blood on it. Almost.

There are some farmers, growers, producers, sellers who are committed to providing food in such a way that animals are treated with dignity that God requires, the earth is stewarded properly to produce the vegetables, fruits, and grains we need, and those who work with animals, those who work the earth are also treated with dignity.

Polyface Farms is one place in Virginia that does this kind of good work. I've blogged about this before, yet I've not taken decisive action on it. My friend Steve Dennie blogged on something similar about the meat industry.

Arrgh, why can't eating food be simple. Maybe I'll just ignore the evil reality surrounding the current food production syndicate. Yeah, that's it. I'll just pretend that everything is okay. Or not...

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Tonight was a lot of fun!

Four neighborhood churches gathered together at Anchor tonight for a fantastic array of delicious soups and very tasty desserts! Trinity United Methodist, Grace Presbyterian, North Highlands Church of Christ and First Mennonite join us - over 100 - in the Fellowship Hall to eat, and then we gathered in the Sanctuary for some beautiful and energy-full singing. It was a full house! It was fun to have my wife Tara singing up there along with Jody, and the guys in the band were having a lot of fun too!

The lesson we did had to to do with the Temptation of Jesus - the fourth lesson in the series "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. The overall effect is to prepare us for the Passion week as we continue to meet on Sunday nights during the Lenten Season. The lesson of Jesus this week focused on the temptation to be impatient: turn stones to bread, bow down as a shortcut to saving the world. What about us, as we serve in the name of Jesus, loving our friends, families, strangers and even we get impatient with others? With God? With ourselves?

Jesus resisted the temptation to be impatient. Jesus is still patient with us. Which is part of the good news we choose to believe.

The challenge to our local neighborhood churches: be patient with God, with each other, and your church. It is easy for our small city churches to get impatient...

Tonight was a good reminder to remember that God "never lets go", and so neither should we.

Saturday, February 16, 2008



No U23D...

Tara and I showed up at the Rave, 9:30pm ready to pick up our pre-ordered tickets. Tara is gifted with intuition - as we walk up to the theatre, she notes that there are alot of cars waiting to pick people up...which doesn't make sense if the other U23D show ended an hour ago. Something was not right. We walk into the theatre and nowhere does it have a sign up for our show. Nothing!

I go to the teller to pick up my ticket and I ask her if the U23D is showing tonight. Hannah Montana is showing instead.


Well, I paid online, can I get my money back?

Ummmm...I'll have to talk to a manager.

[Static] "We have another one here for the U23D, can you meet him in the lobby"

Tara and I meet the manager who hurriedly and apologetically explains what happened: Disney and National Geographic had a scheduling conflict. Since so many pre-teens were being herded to Hannah Montana by parents in minivans, Disney decided to extend the show another week. So too bad National Geographic and U2. Down with Disney!

Supposedly U23D is rescheduled for next Friday, the 22. But if Hannah Montana does well again, Disney might just extend it another week.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Tonight Trinity United Methodist Church hosted our Neighborhood Churches for a Soup Supper as well as a series called The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey.

It was a good time. It was good to see our United Brethren church gathering together with a United Methodist church, a Presbyterian church, a Mennonite church, and a Church of Christ. It's a special gathering, I don't know of ANY other like it in our city. Anchor had a decent showing, there were about ten of us who braved the ice-cold gusting wind.

Next Sunday Anchor hosts, which will be fun.

This Sunday is the first one of Lent, which makes gathering with fellow believers from the neighborhood during this time extra special. What makes the book study so special is its focus on Jesus within his historical and cultural context. A fresh look as to why Jesus was crucified (was he just an annoying Mr. Rogers? a divisive cultural critic? a misunderstood prophet?) and what does his life mean for our life today? Good questions to discuss with our neighbors during Lent.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Heaven May Not Be What You Think

N.T. Wright, in an interview with Time magazine, discusses what the New Testament actually teaches about life after death, or more accurately, life after life after death. Interested? Click here for the article.

Wright's book on this subject is Surprised by Hope; you can read some indepth reviews of it chapters here - written by Scot McKnight, a respected and thoughtful theologian who is picking through each chapter. You'll find alot to chew on. And it affirms some of my suspicions.

If you read and liked the Left Behind series, or adhere to that book's articulation of heaven, you may bristle at Wright's description. But I think Wright is right, and LaHaye and Jenkins are wrong.

I ordered Wright's book on Amazon, I hope to start reading it in a week or two. I'll share some of my thoughts here, and maybe you will to.

Happy Birthday Levi and Isaac

Every year on January 5 we celebrate the birth of our twins. This year Tara and I took the guys out to Glenbrook for some fun.

They are getting so tall! Here they are at the fountain looking very handsome!
For fun we got DQ ice cream cones first!

After ice cream we went for a ride on the carousal. Oh joy!
We convinced them that TGIFridays would be the perfect place for them to eat for their birthday. I think it was the free balloons they get when we go there that helped with their decision.

When we got home they opened a few presents: fuzzy Thomas sleepers, Boz books, and more!

On Saturday we had family over to celebrate, what a houseful! The theme was Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat.

Alia, Isaiah, Eva, Emma, and Salma joined Levi and Isaac for the festivities - Hannah, Lydia and Eli joined in too.
Tara came up with some fun activies: along with making the hats we also pinned a tie on the Cat; here Levi gets pretty close!
Even Brett got roped into the game, we had fun giving him some extra spins...
Here's those famous Fruit Loops...
It's alot of candles to blow out!

Each year we take a pic of the guys in my Huntingon College letter jacket; it's still pretty big on them...but not for long!


Have you heard?

U2 is coming to Fort Wayne!

Tara and I are going to see them in concert at the Rave next Friday!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What is Truth?

Pilate asked it of Jesus.

Plenty of people are still asking it. Including me.

I keep running into people that are very confused over what is true, what is the Truth.

Are the claims of Christianity true?

What about the claims of the other religions?

What about the differing claims of the three branches of Christianity?

What about the thousands of differing claims of Protestant Christianity?

What is the True of what is claimed by the many, many, many different beliefs?

A lot of it hinges on whether you accept the Scriptures as trustworthy and reliable. If you don't, then that leaves you with a great deal of uncertainty about how to attain Truth.

But, and this is the thing that gets me and many of my friends, even if you accept the Scriptures as trustworthy and reliable, there is still so much that is debatable and not 100% clear.

If you use historical data and arguments to track the development of the Scriptures, it seems easy enough to cast doubts on methodology, documentation, etc. If you can cast doubt on the historicity of the Scriptures, then you cast enough doubt on the reliability of the Scriptures, and thus doubt on what is true according to what God has revealed.

And for all the evangelical scholars that I respect who have done an admirable job to track the historical reliablity of the Scriptures, my friends would say: of course they found the Scriptures to be historically reliable...

What of the secular scholars whose investigation into the reliability of the Scriptures lead to their salvation? And what of those who stayed secular?

I believe the Scriptures to be trustworthy and reliable, and the historical data is convincing to me.

I also believe it is important to do some serious research to find good answers for why there are so many differing belief systems in light of the Scriptures claim that Jesus is the One Way to the One LORD.

So here I go...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

Some say it is taboo to mix politics and religion. Some times that is the case. But not today.

Today is Super Tuesday: 24 states are holding a primary - Tara and I are having fun watching CNN track the races. It's been a great routine, pretty much every Tuesday for the last month we've been tracking and talking politics! Right now Huckabee is making a speech, something he typically does a good job of. But will he do a good job as president...I just don't know. McCain doesn't thrill me, and Romney bores me. Clinton scares me. Obama...I like him, but we don't line up close enough on some key issues. But...

Today is Fat Tuesday: 48 days until Resurrection Sunday, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Lenten Season. That means that today is the traditional day when you eat heartily, load up on the rich foods and have a good time - because tomorrow is a day of penitence and fasting as we begin the almost seven week preparation for celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. If you'd like some background on Lent, read this article at Christian History - concise summary and chronology that is helpful.

Tara had other plans for dinner, so that left me and the kids to make the traditional fare for Fat Tuesday: Pancakes! There are several names for today: Pancake (Fat) Tuesday is the traditional name for British-influenced Christianity; Mardi Gras is the French translation of Fat Tuesday and is celebrated in Catholic-influenced regions: New Orleans, Venice, Brazil, etc.

 We made the pancakes extra rich: three eggs instead of one, four extra spoons of sugar, and then we drizzled chocolate or caramel syrup on top of them. We also had yogurt, chocolate pudding, and frozen cake for dessert. Whew!

It was fun explaining - in very simple terms - to Emma why we were having pancakes on Tuesday night instead of our regular Friday morning slot. I shared with her that on Ash Wednesday evening, we would have a special prayer we would pray following the routine bedtime prayer. I'm looking forward to introducing my children to some of the rich traditions of the church as we remember and honor the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Way of Anchor and Newbigin's Thoughts - Part Seven

"Jesus did not write a book but formed a community."

Lesslie Newbigin, a missionary with decades of service in India who then came to America, observed and asserted that the only interpretation "of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it."

In chapter 18 of his book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, he goes on to describe six characteristics of this kind of community that believes Jesus and lives by his words and deeds.

The first one: "it will be a community of praise and thanksgiving."
The second characteristic: "it will be a community of truth. "
The third: "it will be a community that does not live for itself but is deeply involved in the concerns of its neighborhood."
Fourthly: "it will be a community where men and women are prepared for and sustained in the excercise of the priesthood in the world."
The fifth characteristic: "it will be a community of mutual responsibility."

Sixthly: "And finally, it will be a community of hope."
This characteristic hits close to home for me, and for the identity of our church. Anchor Community Church gets it's name from Hebrews 6:19 "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." From the beginning Anchor has sought to be a community of people who add hope to people's lives.

Newbigin comments on the increasing amounts of despair, darkness, and pessimism that hangs around our conversations, our movies, our newsstories, and our homes. So how is a church to be a community of hope? One way is for us to keep remembering - as well as helping others understand - that life is not about a struggle between good and evil. Evil is very powerful and pervasive in this world.

Rather than seek hope in our work for progress or in reincarnation, as Christians our hope is rooted in our trust towards our Creator who is ALWAYS at work in this world - in his work of Redemption. Redemption is that work which reclaims from from evil and renews what was corrupted. Evil will be pervasive till the End of All Things. But one day evil will come to an end, and the ongoing, everyday redemption will be complete. Nebigin writes:
"...the gospel offers an understanding of the human situation which makes it possible to be filled with a hope which is both eager and patient in the most hopeless situations."

Where we work, where we play, where we shop, where we live, where we pray - these people are who we seek to fill with hope by how we interact with them, the kind of wisdom we share with them, the respsonse to their crisis, the everyday comments about inconveniences and global tragedies. How can your strong Hope in an always-working God of Redemption make your words as salt and light to the people who speak to in everyday situations? This is one of the best ways that we build our community of hope.

He closes the chapter and the call to be a community of hope with these thoughts:
If the gospel is to challenge the public life of our society...then it will only be by movements that begin with the local congregation in which the reality of the new creation is present, known, and experienced, and from which men and women will go into every sector of public life to claim it for Christ, to unmask the illusions which have remained hidden and to expose all areas of public life to the illumination of the gospel.

But that will only happen as and when local congregations renounce an introverted concern for their own life, and recognize that they exist for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument, and foretaste of God's redeeming grace for the whole life of society.