We are Inheritance of Hope. So, I was pondering: what is hope? If you ask most people about hope, they will tell you about their dreams. I hope to retire with enough money to live comfortably. I hope my kids grow up to be happy and healthy people. We think of hope as a maybe. I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend. We think of the word hope as a synonym for wish or want. Usually our false pursuit of hope is focused on a pain-free life without any suffering. But here we are, walking very realistically into people’s suffering with terminal illness. So, as we ponder our purpose here, are we offering an Inheritance of “I hope so”? I hope not! That kind of hope is disappointing. So, what is hope for us, who call ourselves Christians?
Inspirational Christian Writings
No one was there for me when I needed them! How many times have you heard or said this? When the Apostle Paul was in prison and his friends in Philippi weren’t there for him, you have to wonder if he was tempted to feel this way. If you were in prison, especially for a just cause, I imagine you’d expect your friends to be there for you. It seems like the time you’d need them the most! If they didn’t come through for you, you’d likely feel let down and like they must not have really cared about you. Paul shows us a different way to respond, though.
I’m going to start off by telling you about a family we served. This family went on the California retreat in August of 2018. The mama of this family passed away about 6 weeks ago. And a few weeks after she died, the dad texted this: “Isn’t it hard for you to get to know so many people that end up passing away? And after asking you that, we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity it was to come out to Cali and spend time with you and everyone else. I was texting Jon [their volunteer] and told him when I get things settled and in a routine, I wanted to volunteer and give back to some families. Jon, Olivia, you, Brian... you will be lifelong friends for us. The experience you provide is priceless.”
As we get ready to meet and serve so many families, what a joy it is to see and spend time with so many wonderful people on this amazing team. Everything we do well happens because of great teamwork, and that is true of these coming days, full of new ways of serving. I know there’s curiosity about how we’re serving these families, and we’ll certainly be sharing a lot of that. I want to kick us off, though, by emphasizing why we’re serving these families.
To illustrate the importance of why, think back with me, deep into history... to that time long ago when sports were a big deal. Can you remember that? Remember when sports even happened?!
Prayer--whether private or public, poetic or plain, we need it. In times of both praise and pain, the truest prayers humble us and connect us with our creator who loves us. Since 1952, presidents from both sides of the aisle have designated a national day of prayer to be held each spring. Now, when we see more than ever just how deeply we are connected and how tenuously we are tethered to this life, may we pray together as people, not as members of a particular religion or political party. It is time to pray humbly, lovingly, and hopefully, following the directive of Mahatma Gandhi that “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
I would like to share perhaps a familiar verse, but one that I love that I want to encourage us all with!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. -- Matthew 11:28-30
Basically, a yoke is a piece of wood that is used to hold two animals together in order to plow fields for a new season of crop planting. Jesus’ audience would have recognized and completely understood exactly what a yoke is and what a yoke does. They would know that a yoke is not a light and easy thing to bear. It bears weight...a lot of weight! They also would know that stronger oxen were matched with weaker or younger oxen in order to help it become stronger without overwhelming it. The stronger ox bears most of the weight, yet the two oxen are in step together sharing the load, doing the work together.
Is it apparent to you what the common theme of most advertisements is? How about the messages we receive on social media? The goal of most advertising is to convince you that “you need this” or “your life could be better if…” and in social media, we often receive the message that we’re not doing enough in life, because it seems like everyone else is doing so much better and more.
How can we be content, when we always feel like we’re lacking in something? This is the question I’ve been wrestling with lately, and I’m grateful that God has been revealing the secret of contentment to me!
I love this Legacy Retreat® so much! There are several reasons why it is so special.
1) All of the families on this retreat have the same diagnosis. They have metastatic breast cancer. Powerful community is always formed among the families at Legacy Retreats®, and this particular retreat seems to bring about instant connection as these families don't even have to explain about different illnesses to one another. In fact, many of them have been in private Facebook groups and chat rooms together and now they are finally meeting face to face.
1 Peter 3:15-16 – "In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, yet do this with gentleness and respect."
Inheritance of Hope volunteers do such a great job telling people what we do. On a retreat people see our shirts and our large group and they often ask, "What is this group all about?"
Originally posted in December 2015
A year ago I reflected on the wonder of “Unto us a child is born,” which took on fresh richness as Allison and I experienced new parenthood along with Advent. Now we can hardly believe that we have been parents for a year already! Our baby girl has grown and changed so much, and so have we. As Advent scriptures and songs once again circulate, different parts of them grab my attention. In a recent reading of Isaiah 9, the phrase “Everlasting Father” struck me. I love my little girl to death, but that is tragically literal – some day death will interrupt my fatherly love. An “Everlasting Father” is worthy of reflection.