A week ago this past Friday, I drove . . . umm . . . (shh, quiet now) a rented mini-van, filled with my family, to Battle Creek, Michigan. We were on our way to attend the wedding of my nephew David and his fiance Rachel. Hmm. David and Rachel. There's a few biblical names for you.
Our vehicle was filled with a most precious cargo - my wife, our two children, our daughter-in-law and our grandson. We have an awesome family! But that "awesomeness" extends far beyond just us Waupaca Hall's. My parents and my sister's family live in Battle Creek and that is where we were headed. Awesome! (Do I use that word too much?)
Dave and Rachel represent hope, at least to these two eyes, hope of a new beginning in my family. You see, their relationship is based totally on their mutual faith in Jesus Christ. It is SO refreshing to see.
When my sister, brother and I were growing up, church was just something we did. There was never any "relationship." Church was just something we did on Sunday before we went to PDQ to pick up some ham and buns, and then we watched the Packer game. It was routine.
My sister and I were in youth group. I'm not sure about my brother. He was much younger than we were. When I would come home from college he seemed more interested in doing magic tricks than anything else. But my sister . . . she was the one who blazed the trail of faith in our family.
When she went off to college (all three of us Hall kids attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison). She got hooked up with a campus ministry called Navigators. That is where she met her husband Curt. And the rest is history. They had three kids - Aaron, Bethany and David. There's some Biblical names for you! Their names were kind of an indicator of what was important in their parent's lives.
The reason David and Rachel represent hope for our family in my eyes is because of their faith. They are excited about it. No other couple in their generation of our family is excited about their faith like they are. I hope and pray their excitement in contagious.
Their enthusiasm made me think this week as I reflected on my own faith and how I used to be on fire for Jesus. He still means everything to me but I admit the excitement has waned. There are many reasons for the decrease in exuberance - apostasy in the church, people who say they are Christians but really aren't, church leaders and pastors leading their flocks astray, a country formed on Christian fundamentals slowly but surely drifting away from those values, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. There are many things in this world that can drain a Christian. That's why hope is such a valuable commodity.
Does excitement breed hope? Or is it hope that breeds excitement? You know, I believe the answer to both of those questions is YES. Both statements are true.
We who believe place our hope in Christ, It is our repentance and our belief in Him and His promise of forgiveness of sins that gives us hope of a future beyond this world. That's exciting. When we get excited about our faith, like David and Rachel are, that breeds hope. The hope comes in the lives of the others around them, around you and me. It's the way our eyes light up when we talk about Jesus that gives others a reason to hope. And that is very exciting!!
When was the last time you talked with someone, excitedly about Jesus? Has it been just a few days? Or a few weeks? Or has it been years? Or hasn't it happened at all.
When I met my wife, my mother told me I had "cow eyes." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think it meant that she could tell in my eyes just how much I loved this woman and how much I cared for her and how excited I was about her.
Shouldn't we feel the same way about Jesus? Do you still get excited when you tell someone your testimony? Can they see the excitement in your eyes when you tell them about the hope that you have in Christ? I certainly hope so.
My friends, if you are not excited about your relationship with Jesus Christ, I would submit to you that your current relationship status with our King needs a jump start. Dive into His Word, volunteer somewhere and serve our Lord with your giftedness, worship Him in your local church and devote yourself in prayer with a group of fellow believers. Get excited about your faith.
We are the bride of Christ. The bride groom is coming. It's time to get excited about our faith because our wedding day is fast approaching and we should be ready and waiting for the hope that we have to come true.
"13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil." - 1 Peter 3:13-17
In Christ Alone - by Avalon