Signs of hope

Grass growing in a crack in the footpath

Do you ever lose hope, perhaps just for a moment?

There are plenty of things we may feel hopeless about – ourselves or our circumstances, the world, politics. One of the things I often lose hope about is the church – it just seems to be drifting, a long way from the teachings of Jesus, yet also a long way from connecting with the people around us. Keith Green once called it “asleep in the light”.

Yet there are many signs of hope. People caring for their fellow human beings and thus showing in practical ways the love God puts in our hearts, and calling those outside the kingdom to receive God’s grace and forgiveness and join us in making the world a better place.

Here are seven brief glimpses of hope.

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Three views on our acceptance with God

North Haven

North Haven on the NSW mid-north coast, from the top of Big Brother mountain. The reason for showing this photo will become apparent in the post. Photo (c) John Naylor and Google.

Christians hold three different views on who gains acceptance with God. I have looked at what the Bible says in detail at Can only christians be saved?, but here I want to think about some other aspects of the question.

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After the gospels, one of the best (and shortest) books you’ll read about Jesus

rbauckham

You wouldn’t even try to count the number of books written about Jesus. Most of them would have value, I guess, but some are long and scholarly, others lack a good historical basis.

But here’s one that is short, written by a respected historian and is encouraging to faith. What’s not to like?

It is the best introductory book about Jesus I have read. I think you’ll find it helpful and stimulating, and you’ll want to lend it out. Here’s why.

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Seek the peace and prosperity of the city

City

In the west we generally live in post-christian societies. Although the majority of people in many countries may list their religion as “christian”, weekly church attendance is down around 5-15% in many countries, and somewhere around 30% in the US.

It seems that in many cases, churches haven’t really adjusted to the end of Christendom in the methods they adopt for mission, “outreach” or evangelism.

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