Finding Hope in Uncertain Times

wondersplashLast week we started a new study in 1&2 Thessalonians, under the header “Finding Hope in Uncertain Times”.  It should be a timely series.  We covered all of chapter one last Sunday, and what with the all the holiday happs, I didn’t get around to updating this blog.  We should be back on track now though.

This Sunday we’ll be covering 1 Thes 2:1-12 (and in the Message version).

I was talking to an insurance agent who is a believer, who was telling me how the company he represents is by and large trying to pull out of Florida.  This has had the effect of almost wiping his business out.  Yet, the first thing he said was “This is the time when our testimony will shine, because we have a hope that’s not of this world.”  One of the natural by-products of our hope during times of trouble is that we find opportunities to share that hope with other people.  Really…that’s probably the primary focus we as the church should have…to share our hope in Christ with those who have no hope.

As we look at how Paul describes his presentation of the Message of Christ to the Thessalonian people, we can find some insights into how we can be effective in presenting the hope we have with the world around us.

In v 1-2, Paul explains how he had faced a lot of hostility in Phillipi, just before he came to Thessalonica.  He doesn’t go into detail…but he was publicly humiliated in Phillipi…yet he says he still had boldness to speak in their city.  What was the source of his boldness?  Was his confidence in his speaking ability, or his knowledge of theology, or his marketing strategy?  What was Paul confident in ?  What do we learn about being effective in sharing our hope during OUR times of trouble?

In v3-6, Paul describes what he DIDN’T do when sharing his faith.  What does all of that add up to?  How would you summarize his approach?  How does that make our sharing of the hope we have effective in OUR world when times are hard?

In v7-12, Paul really opens up his heart and describes how much the Thessalonians mean to him.  v7 and v9 and 11 provide the adjectives which reveals how he treated them.  What do those adjectives reveal to you?  How would you apply those to your attempts at sharing the hope you have in Christ with the world where you’ve been placed?

Definitely stuff to think about.  See you Sundee’!

3 comments

  1. Suffering?

    Do a search of Wonderwhat:
    > type in the google search bar “site:www.wonderwhat.net suffering”

    Try with the word “innocent” and then both words together.

    Do the same but without the site reference. See what you find and read. Maybe you will share it.

    I found a couple of interesting websites:
    http://www.suffering.net/
    http://www.suffering.net/bad5.htm
    http://www.suffering.net/servmo-t.htm
    http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=774

    I found some explanations not satisfying, not meaningful, or even weak. You might see your questions posed as in the beginning of this article:
    http://www.suffering.net/evil.htm

    Your questions are good. To me suffering is a mystery. I believe Christ got it about as bad as anybody ever did. He certainly was “stabbed” by those closest to him. The ones he loved. So in His example is an answer to the mystery. Perhaps its not a simple explanation we can completely understand. Maybe one does not have to understand the everything. Maybe this mystery of why the innocent suffer is meant to elude us

  2. While working daily in a public place for many years, I have found that the only way to share the hope I have in Christ is to show love, care, and concern to all kinds of people (even when I don’t feel like it). This is so exhausting at times and I must re-fuel on the weekends. Thanks to you and Eastgate, by God’s blessing, I am able to be re-fueled by being with fellow believers, who also are hungry just like me.

  3. I was reading my devotional this morning and God reminded me that in the midst of all the stuff to worry about in this current world, I have so MUCH more to be thankful for. As David did, I should remember who holds my future in His hand and offer my humble gratitude and savor each moment of blessing. That said, I think we are most effective in sharing our hope, especially in troubled times, when we are real and honest about our circumstances and our concerns. Maybe difficult times bring us to that place; we become raw and exposed when we are hurting or fearful. Those without hope, who experience the same troubles, may be more responsive to hearing the Good News from someone whose scrapes and bumps aren’t hidden under righteous pretense. Jesus didn’t where the latest fashion or drive the finest chariot…his clothing was humility and his feet surely calloused from the roads he traveled to find the weary and offer them hope.

    Paul speaks of mothers, fathers, children and brothers which brings to my mind a picture of family. As one would (should) affectionately treat his child, brother or sister, we should do the same for those in the body of Christ…who have become one in Christ. If we are one in the body, it seems how we treat each other is, in affect, how we treat ourselves. (hope that makes sense). It also causes me to realize we are all God’s creation, believers and non-believers. Doesn’t that give us all a sort of kinship? Shouldn’t we view those without hope as a lost brother or sister? I have family members without faith…I know the longing I have for them. I imagine God’s longing for His lost children is beyond my heart’s knowing.

    Rob, thanks for provoking a deeper desire and understanding of who our King really is and what our walk is all about. I love being a part of this blessed family!!!

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