A quiet blog recently has been the result of a few factors:
1. A lot of our staff (including myself) has had the opportunity to spend some glorious time away from this still-hot desert to connect with family and friends. And rest and re-charge.
2. That means there’s not a lot going on program-wise here, other than planning for the kick-off of programs in September.
I’ve found myself doing quite a bit of reading during this quiet season. A great read this summer has been The Hope Quotient by Pastor Ray Johnston. Ray spoke briefly at the conference some of us attended in May. He’s the pastor of a large church in the Sacramento, CA, area; if you haven’t heard of him before, you might recognize the name of his church’s worship leader: Lincoln Brewster.
Ray mentioned that he’d recently written a book called The Hope Quotient. He’s quite an engaging speaker, and what he shared about the book made you want to read it — but apparently not enough that I immediately bought it.
In fact, I didn’t give it too much thought after the conference until I was at the library recently and spotted the book in the new release section. One of the first impressions I had of the book was that its writing style was so similar to Ray’s speaking style. As I made my way through it, torn-off chunks of my library receipt became markers to highlight things I wanted to write down later. Here are a few of those highlights excerpted from The Hope Quotient:
Jesus was not focused on what people were like. He was focused on what they could become.
Three good questions to ask to discern if you have a God-given dream:
1. Is this dream God-honoring?
2. Will this dream change lives and influence people?
3. Does this dream resonate with godly, visionary people?
Living for Jesus Christ and living with hope makes all the difference in the world.
-The US has the highest teen pregnancy and birthrate in the developed world.
-Each year 400,000 teen girls give birth in the U.S.
-Every day 959 teenage girls get abortions.
-The U.S. has the highest rate of STD infection in the industrialized world.
-Every 8 seconds during the school year a public high school student drops out.
-Every 47 seconds a child is abused or neglected.
…kids only flourish in a motivational culture of hope. We need to learn what turns them on, not off.
As kids grow older, we have to become much better at reaching the heart rather than filling the head. One of the best ways to reach the heart is to provide hope, to help our kids see what they can become, rather than dwell on what they are.
Believe that God can use kids and teenagers.
Never underestimate what the Holy Spirit will do in partnership with a child’s life.
To be blunt about it, you could close the doors of the average church in America and the community would never miss it, because they have so little connection to the community.
The early church’s pattern was that good deeds led to good will, which led to openness to the good news.
“He is risen” are the three words that give the Christian church the solid foundation of hope to offer to every person on the planet. Those three words signal that death is defeated — for you, for me, for everyone. Those three words give us our hope, and there is no situation and no person that cannot be fueled by hope.
Whoever wins the kids wins the culture.
The solution to everything is not the right religion. It’s not the right ritual. It is the right person. That person, for your life, is Jesus Christ.