So on Saturday afternoon Stef and I went to the “Hope” Seminar at Encounter where Steve Clifford, Bruce Main and James Duce spoke about a lot of stuff!
Bruce Main spoke about how we live in a society which suffers from “Nillism” – a desperate existance oflovelessness, meaninglessness and hopelessness which infects and destroys people’s lives. He said that people need the pure love of attention – just to know we’re listening to them, that in that moment we are entirely focused on them, can make such a difference. When we’re invovled with groups and programmes, whilst of course our first priority is to share the gospel, paying attention to the stories and bad jokes and dramas of those we’re working with can make such a difference. We want them to be able to say that they know when they don’t show up they’ll be missed. And if they see that we care, they’ll soon see that God cares too. People also need meaning – a sense of identity and belonging. They shouldn’t just feel an object of a ministry but a part of it, a sense of ownership and that they contribute something. People need hope too. They need people who’ll believe in them, support them, validate their futures and dreams. They might not believe in themselves but can grow to if they know there are people who have faith in them and a God who entrusts them with His work too.
At one point Steve Clifford mentioned this verse from 1 Peter 3:
” . . . if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”
He spoke about the pre-supposition there that our lives will be ones which envoke questions. That we will be obviously different in our words and actions, so much so that people question us. When our lives stand out and questions are asked, if we are prepared to answer that answer can, and should lead to the gospel.
Steve also quoted a Croation Pastor, and I really like what he said:
Hope is being able to hear the music of the future. Faith is being able to dance to it now.
Love. Hope. Faith. When we love as Christ loved, we show faith in God, which brings hope to others.