Sun, Dec 09, 2018
by Chris Russell
HopeFULL week one message from Pastor Chris Russell on December 9, 2018 at Community Church of Waterford, Goshen, Indiana. For many of us, no time of the year stirs up more hope than the Christmas season. But the reality is, for many, the Christmas season is one of the most hopeless times of the year. For many, it brings a lot of stuff to the surface. In my years serving as a pastor, the amount of people who struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and hopelessness skyrockets around this time of the year. It amazes me how at a time of the year that should be so merry, so exciting, so hopeful, that there is often so much hopelessness. Proverbs 13:12 So how do you know if you are struggling with some hopelessness in your life? I want to quickly give you three symptoms that hopelessness produces in our lives when we are struggling with it. We may experience one of them or possibly even all three of them. 3 Symptoms of Hopelessness 1) Disoriented Job 17:15 3 Symptoms of Hopelessness 1) Disoriented 2) Drifting Isaiah 53:6 3 Symptoms of Hopelessness 1) Disoriented 2) Drifting 3) Despair 2 Corinthians 1:8 (NIV) The Bible doesn’t promise that when we give our lives to Jesus everything gets better. In fact, many people who make a decision to follow Jesus often find that life gets tougher for a bit after they make that decision. God never said He would keep us from trouble, He told us that we would be able to rise above that trouble. So what I want to do in the remaining time this morning is define hope from the Bible’s standpoint. So what is hope? Hope is a confident expectation based on something real. Hebrews 11:1 For most people, hope is something they do. Biblical hope is something that we have. So what makes an anchor work? Here’s three things... the first thing is… Anchor of Hope 1. Hope requires trust. 2. Hope is anchored to something unseen 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Anchor of Hope 1. Hope requires trust. 2. Hope is anchored to something unseen 3. Hope is found in a relationship with God Isaiah 40:31 It’s the hope that gives us the wisdom to realize that when life gets tough the dumbest thing we can do is say “forget you God” ....the wisest thing we can do is hold on to that anchor even tighter. When we talk about Christmas we can’t help but talk about hope, not the wishful thinking definition we have tended to make it, but the hope that the Bible talks about, solid, secure, unwavering, and immovable.