00:00 You're listening to a live recording from Westside church in bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us
00:06 So great to see you. My name's Steve Mitchell. I'm one of the senior pastors here. Welcome to those that are watching online as well. Great to have you joining us and, I wanna show you guys a picture to start off and I want you to decide, this will kind of tell you how you view the world. All right. Let's put that, is this glass half full or half empty? Who's the half who's the half full people. Those optimistic. Yeah. Mm-hmm
00:48 And we're gonna talk a little bit about hope today, because hope is deeper than optimism, just because you're a half full person doesn't mean you are a hope-filled person. And we wanna look at what that means. as we kind of get in, you know, halfway through the year, this is the year of hope for west side church. Wanna look at what that means. Pastor Dave Daley. I wanna give a little shout out to pastor Dave. He shared this very same message at west side advance just a few weeks ago. And when I was listening to, I was like that the whole church needs to hear that. And so you, so you might be wondering, well, why isn't he up here?
01:32 So I, I, so it's my, my town, you know, but it's such a good word. And, and I, and I'm, I, I, I just wanna get into it right away, but like I said, like being half full being optimistic doesn't mean you're full of hope. because hope is deeper than optimism. Optimism is often based on our circumstances what's going on in our life or what, how you think circumstances will change in the future. hope is, is, is resident, beyond just what our circumstances say, what the data points around us say, what we think the future might be hope is something more established than that. I love what, the black theologian, Dr. Cornell west said about hope. We have it up here on the screen. I'm gonna read it from there. Hope and optimism are different. Optimism tends to be based on the notion that there's enough evidence out there to believe things are going to be better.
02:31 It's rational, deeply secular, whereas hope looks at the evidence and says, it doesn't look good at all.
03:39 It's what one, one person called a legacy of hope that we see in scripture that produces as Dr. West said a vision that we, that becomes contagious of the kind of life that we can have, the kind of legacy that we can leave, because I tell you what of all the things that I wanna leave my children and future grandchildren is a legacy of hope. And that seems so difficult in this day and age. So how do we do that? I love, York minister cathedral, this picture of the York minister cathedral it's in the UK. It was built over how many years do you think, how long do you think it took the builders to build this? Any guesses, 500, 500, what? 80 couple hundred, over 250 years, it took to build this, to build this cathedral. Can you imagine being to start on this and you got this grand picture and you know, what, what do you know I'm not gonna be here when they have their first service.
04:47 And yet these, the builders invested their life into this. I love what their website says about what they call the minster. That's their short for the York minister cathedral. The minster was built for the glory of God. Every aspect of this ancient building from the exquisite handcrafted stone through to the unrivaled collection of medieval stained glass tells the story of Jesus Christ. So when we talk about hope, we're talking about the story of Jesus Christ in the pages of scripture in your life and into future generations is this hope ongoing people who dug trenches, people who, who painted walls. They knew they would never see opening day
05:53 A future that can be shaped by how we live right now in this present moment, in regards to hope, the kind of hope that we have could go be could last generations beyond your life and impact future generations that put their hope because of your hope in God. There's two Hebrew words. So throughout the Hebrew narrative, the Hebrew scriptures, there's two words that just keep coming up that are used more often than other words to describe hope. And the first word is YHA. I want, I want you to, I'm gonna teach you a little Hebrew. All right. So you can't just say YHA. I mean, that's so American. You need to, you need to say Yaha so go ahead and try, give it, give it a little shot. Get that gutteral Yaha
06:49 The word was used when Noah, for instance, was on the boat of the waters were receding and he was waiting in anticipation for those waters to reced. It's a hope that anticipates. It's not if, but when, I love, the story of, scuba diver named Mel Fisher. He was actually a treasure hunter. He hunted for years, years for the cargo of a single treasure packed ship, the new estro Sonora de Atoka. He searched for 15 years for this tr for this treasure. He knew kind of generally where it was. He couldn't find it for 15 years, but you know what he would say every single day he was on that boat. This is the day he was wrong, more often than he was right. But he would say, this is the day, this hopeful anticipation. And he was serious. Like this is the day 15 years. He waited in anticipation until that one day he and his son found around $400 million of treasure. That was a good day
08:08 When you put your hope in God and his character and his promises being fulfilled and day after day, it seems like he's not fulfilling his promises. It's that hope it's a tension that we live with as Christ followers. It's a tension that, that Christianity, it it's involves this like, oh, I hope, but it's not based on circumstances. It's based on God's character. It's like the farmer anticipating a crop. It's interesting to me that as I think about a hope and the one that this word for hope, meaning the rope that's pulled tight, the end of an anchor line on a ship. So the rope that ties to the, to the anchor and goes all the way down to the mass and is in, in that end, that holds to the, to the actual ship it's called the bitter end. Anybody
09:18 What are you tethered to? Will it sustain you when things get hard? Will it hold, will it, will it hold, will the rope hold. This is the kind of hope that the Israelites had the prophets, especially these, there are people who lived through the worst of Israel's history with no end in sight. They were exiled. They were under oppression. They, they were slaves for much of the time. They were embarrassed. They were powerless. And yet there's this anticipation that is embedded in the Hebrew scriptures. Like these people kept, kept hope in that God would fulfill his promises, that God would make all things right. One day that God would renew all things, right? Isaiah chapter nine is one example of this. It's it's one of the prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus, the Messiah and Isaiah, the prophet writes these words in, chapter nine, verse one, nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever, cuz they were living in a time of despair and he and the prophet says, it's not, it will not go on forever.
10:25 The land of Zent enough Tali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road, that runs between the Jordan and the sea will be filled with glory. by the way, that's a description of the, where the ministry of Jesus happen. The verse two, the people who walk in darkness will see a great light for those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine and go up to verse six, pro the fulfillment of the prophecy will happen through this for a child is born to us. A son is given to us and the government will rest on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace and his government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor, David, for all eternity, what a hope-filled prophecy, right? That was given. Guess how many years before the actual coming of Jesus, the Messiah 700 years
11:38 How did these people do it? Because their hope wasn't tethered to their circumstances. Their hope was tethered to the promises of God and often the promises of God long outlast you, you and I's life. And yet they never, they never strayed from their home. Matt, when Jesus shows up on the scene and he starts doing the Mar miracles and people see him and people start asking, guess, guess what question they start asking? Is he the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah? And I
12:47 Sorry, Ben, pastor Ben is a huge fan. This is yeah. When Jesus began his ministry, people recognized him and connect cuz they kept their hope firmly placed in God's ability to fulfill his promises. That's why the people of Israel will constantly, they were constantly building places to memorialize the move of God. When they crossed the red sea, when they crossed the Jordan river, they would, they would build, memorials. So that not just when their generation walked past the memorials, they would be reminded of God's faithfulness. But future generations, when they walked by those memorials, they would remember God worked. And if God, and if God delivered the people of Israel, then he can do it. Now, see they put their hope in God's ability to remind future generations of who God is. Peter talks. It talks about it as, as a living. Hope not a, not a dead one.
13:47 He says in first Peter, one, three blessed to be the God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he's caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It's a living hope. It's not just stories, you know? Yeah. You know, this maybe it'll happen. Our hope isn't based on the odds or the prospects of things. Getting better. Our hope is based on the character of God, who he is, who he has been and who he will be. And we believe in this, we hold onto this and people in the world call it what foolishness, because we, the world wants to wants you to put their, your hope in just, you know, things gonna get better. You just gotta pay more taxes. Things will get better. If you vote for a certain candidate, things will get better.
14:37 You just wanna put our hope in so many other things. Then yet the hope that we're talking about is rooted. Not in anything this world offers, but in the God who will fulfill his promises. That's why I, I I've said this before. That's why, when Jesus promised his followers that I go and prepare a place for you. So where, where I am, you will be with me. I am so confident because 700 years before Christ came, he was prophesied and he came and here we are 2000 plus years after Jesus promised that he goes and prepare a place for us. I'm confident that that there's a place for you and a place for me. I'm sure of it. My hope is in it. I'm tethered to the God who saves, who heals, who justifies, who forgives I'm tethered to him and who he is a living hope, cuz he delivers.
15:28 And he restores. And he renews as pastor Dave said and at the leader advance, our hope is based on the character of God who loves us with a passionate, enduring, long suffering joyfilled love. So how do we foster this kind of hope for the next, let's just say this summer, let's just work on the summer. All right. Let's just, this next three months. How do we foster this kind of hope in this kind of world? That's so hard to have this kind of hope. Two things I think will help two practices that will help us in this process. One remembrance and two presence, remembrance reremembering and sharing what God has done. We need to share the stories. Absolutely. That are in God's word. They, they can give us hope they can help faith the arise. Right? But we also need to share our stories of how God has been working.
16:21 I think it's one of the reasons why it's one of many reasons, but it's, it's a key reason why I, why I know this church specifically needs the voice of the older generation. We need to hear your stories. And I know, I know the eye roll, you know, I know what I'm talking about. When you share that story of how God's been faithful in the younger generation, they do what, all right, whatever
17:16 And so, so, so you might be thinking, well, I don't, I really have anybody to share that with we are you on social media? I mean, post it, like, look at what God has done. It can be as current as you want it to be, or as far back as you want it to be, but share your story of how God has delivered you, how God has saved you, how God has set you free, how God is working in your life today, share the stories we need it. And the future generation needs it. You are our living hope Jesus in you is living hope today for us. And the point isn't like when he worked or how he worked, it's who worked, we, and by the way, you know, we can't presume when or how God's going to do what he promised. This is discouraged a lot of people in the faith because if he doesn't do it in my way and in my timeline, then he must not be real
18:16 If you kind of think about it for a second and Isaiah nine, when you read that, did Jesus fulfill that promise in the way they expected him to do it? When Isaiah said that the government will be on his shoulders, what do you think when you read that? Exactly what they thought that he would come and he would take over that he would, he would usurp the power of Rome and be the leader. That's what they were expecting. And even after Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples still asked him when he told them, wait in the upper room, they said, is this the time that you will restore your, the kingdom? I mean, they're still thinking, thinking kind of natural terms. When we put our hope in God, we don't put our hope in God when and how and the way it's. I put my hope in you, God, I believe you will do what you promised.
19:11 I put my hope there. I stick my life on it. I stick my record. I put my career in it. I believe that God will do what he says. So share your stories, share your stories. Then ask, ask others for their stories. I want you to ask someone this week. All right, here's a little homework. I want you to ask someone this week. When did God come through for you? Make them make 'em think about it for a second. When did God come through for you and tell them when God came through for you? All right. Second thing. Presence making time. Not only should we remember what God has done, but make time and space in our lives to connect with God. Oh, this one's hard. We're so busy. It's one of the, it's one of the first things to go in. Our relationship with God is making time and space to be in his presence.
19:55 Let me ask you, do you remember when you first fell in love with someone? Come on, go back, go back to that moment. Maybe it's not the person sitting next to you. That's okay. When was the first time
20:53 That's not to make you feel bad about it. We I'm the same. I get busy and I, I lose some passion in my relationship with Christ. And I think this is an invitation God's inviting us back into this first. Love this. Were you still away with me? Would you come with me? Would you, Jesus often invited his friends to, to get away with him to pray. Would you, would you get away with me? It's this invitation to presence every few years, of being on staff at our church, the church gives our pastors a sabbatical. It's a time away to, to, get to get away. Remember, spend time in God's presence, be refreshed. And as I mentioned, I start my sabbatical next week. And, and one of the things that I want for this, these next eight weeks in my life is I want, I wanna fall in love with Jesus all over again.
21:58 I wanna dust off the cobwebs of my relationship with him and I want, I want, I want to return to this first level. I want to come back to this place of simplicity in my relationship with him. There's this word that keeps coming up as I prepare to, to, to be on, to be away for a bit. It's this word, nostalgia. And by the way, I usually don't like this word because I think we often are hoping for something that will never come back and we're hoping for the wrong thing to come back. But as I think about it in light of this, of where my heart is at, I have this nostalgia for returning to the simplicity of relationship with Christ. The, the, the, a dictionary describes nostalgia, defines it as a sentimental, longing, or wistful affection for the past. Typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
22:49 Maybe you've never had that with Jesus. Maybe you've never, maybe you've never had that association with him of this simple in love relationship with Jesus. And maybe today, it would begin that journey of falling in love with him, not as some, you know, ethereal idea or, but as a person we love because he first loved us. So I have this longing to return to this affectionate, simple friendship with Christ uncomplicated by the demands of ministry and the heartache of life. And, you know, so much has happened for all of us over these past years. And, and I think it's caused some callousness in all of us toward life. And even toward God, we've all lost some innocence, some child likeness. And Jesus said, if you want to enter into the kingdom, if you want to have this kind of pure relationship, come to me as a child.
23:51 So that's what I want. That's what I want for me. But I want that for you. And maybe, maybe you can't get away
24:37 So I want you to do that. Spend some time in his presence, soaking in his love for you. As I, as I've been kind of going back remembering kind of things in my foundation, in my walk with Jesus, I was led back to Psalm 42, which was a foundational scripture in my life. And partly because there was a song written out of it in 1984 and I was a young 14 year old. And just, you know, my relationship with Jesus was like, you know, new and fresh. And this was, this song came kind of jumped out. And some of people won't even know this song cuz it's 40 years old. And but you'll, you'll get, you'll get introduced to it today, but this is what the Psalmist wrote as the deer longs for the streams of water. So I long for you, oh God, I thirst for God.
25:25 The living God, when can I go and stand before him? My heart is breaking. As I remember how it used to be. I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving. Thanks amid the sound of a great celebration. Now I'm deeply discouraged, but I will remember you each day. The Lord pours his unfailing love upon me. And through each night I sing his songs praying to God who gives me life. Oh God, my rock. I cry. Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again. My savior and my God. I don't know if this Psalm resonates with you. Like it does me, but it's longing for his presence coupled with a deep sorrow.
26:23 Did you notice that it's this tension, right? It's this it's it's this tension that we sense and the Psalmist grief, his doubt, his discouragement, his brokenness seems to draw him into God's presence. Not away from it. It's almost like the stuff of life is an invitation to steal a way to get with God as a pathway. Almost like a pathway to hope is through our trouble. It's through our trial and not everything is, is perfect. When things seem to be falling apart, it's this invitation to hope again, hope is the foundation of our relationship with Christ. When we're at the end of our rope, what are you holding onto? And what's holding on to you.