The hope for church provides is :
the Living Water of Jesus. The living water of Jesus provides for the deepest thirsts of each human that drinks deep from it. The church provides living water for the thirsty souls of this world.
That is where the hope truly abides, in Jesus. Hope is found in knowing Him, loving Him, following His ways and learning as you go through this life from Him. (Can I just say, it is hard for me not to name a long list of things where hope is not found - man, my heart is turned towards dismantling bad scripts…stay focused Kevin)
I think the best way for me to talk about this well, is describe when I started going to church and how it impacted me.
I was scared to death of going to hell the summer going into my 8th grade year. I had just been to a funeral in the hills of Kentucky that included 4 pastors that spoke - all with a classic turn or burn feel to them. I felt the conviction and the fear of God that day. It was a sincere awe of God and I knew He was real and yet I did not know Him.
But I wanted to know Him, because I somehow knew that was the answer to the thirst that was within me. Looking back, how did this all work - well, I think God was there working before I knew that I needed him to work.
And so I wanted to go to church because church was the place that people went to understand God, to get to know Him and learn to walk with Him. I called up Lou, the widow of Willis, whose funeral I had just attended. Lou was my grandmothers’ neighbor and deepest friend. She was the one person my family was truly close to that went to church. So it made sense to start with her.
Lou was very willing to take me to church each Sunday. When I started I came to find out a few things. My grandfathers’ brother’s family attended the same church. So some of my cousins were involved in this same church and seeking God thing. So that was good.
I don’t remember much of that fall and early winter. I just remember a Sunday in January, where I came home from Sunday morning church service and I knew that I knew that I knew I had to be baptized. I can not remember the sermon that morning - can not remember what was said. But I knew that I had to make a move.
I had to say yes to the invitation to come and drink the Living Water. I knew as an 8th grader that this is where I was supposed to be and what I supposed to do. It was strange, how deep the pull was that day. I had no idea where it would take me where or what I was getting myself into. This day turned into the day that defined all my decisions since. I have been able to escape these simple truths:
The deepest thirsts that I have can be satisfied only in Jesus.
And that the hope that the church provides is a place that accurately offers that water to thirsty souls.
That is not only the hope of the church provides, but I think the church’s mission can be summed up the same way.
The church was made to tell the story of Jesus and how he offers living water to all that come and drink. The church is their to help folks return often, to practice a life that is centered on consuming the living water and finding life there on a daily basis. That is the true work of the church and true hope of the church.
Disclaimer: when writing you don’t really know where you are going, at least I don’t. I think this book just took a couple turns I was not expecting. I was not planning on trying to name the problem with the church and the hope it provides. But I think by doing so, I see what rest of this writing/book/collection of thoughts are about.
This book will be about how we drink deeply from the living water. How that is our source and center. How the living water is what grounds us, nurtures us, and supplies us with living streams that flow out from us. How we drink, how we satisfy our deepest thirsts, that is what I am going to attempt to write about and offer some practices that can help you as you live in the fallout.