January 12, 2022

Dear Church:

What a powerful Sunday we experienced in our New Beginning!  I want to thank each of you for the preparation of your hearts for worship as well as your participation during the service.  I haven’t had that much fun in church in quite a while!  When I think about the fact that this was only our first Sunday together, I become unbelievably excited about the future.  

Speaking of the future, I’ve been doing some thinking.  No, I’m not trying to guess the future.  That never works out too well.  Instead, I’m just filled with hope about the future.  For some hope can sound like naivete so I should probably clarify about the type of hope which I’m speaking about.  Scripture will help me explain.  In the 42nd Psalm verse five, the author writes: “Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  I find this scripture points to two important truths regarding hope.

First, the trials of life are many and real, but they never cancel out hope.  Trials tear at our hearts and we feel deep pain within our soul as a result.  For some, your pain might be from a recent diagnosis, a death, fractured relationship, or loss of a job.  Your heart feels sad and upset, and you ask “why?”  I love how scripture acknowledges that the resulting emotions from such events are completely acceptable, even expected.  It hurts deeply because you loved deeply, and God will never deny you expressing your emotional condition in your prayers.  However, God also wants you to know that the trials you face do not derail hope for a reason which I will explain next…

Our ultimate hope is in the person of God.  This is a key differentiator, for many will use “hope” to describe their wishes. “I hope I make more money.”  “I hope I get the grade or job.” Those aren’t bad things per se, it’s just not the hope that the scripture describes.  Instead, the scripture declares a radical hope in God’s faithfulness to provide and save regardless of whether everything is going our way or our backs are to the wall.  I often use a question to help me focus on the hope found in God amidst a difficult time.  I say it like this and I invite you to try it out: “Has God’s ultimate promise of salvation and redemption for my life been altered by the current trial I’m facing and the resulting sadness of my soul?”  This isn’t meant to serve as a quick fix.  Honestly, pain and sadness tend to linger, but I also always come back to the fundamental truth that God is still at work for my good at every turn.  He hasn’t left me, and He won’t ever leave you either!  In time, that answer repeated again and again transforms our thinking by the renewing of our minds so that we find our ultimate hope in God who will not disappoint!  

My friends, it’s for those reasons that I’m busting with hope for the future in this new beginning.  In the years to come, we will laugh together and cry together over life’s various peaks and valleys, but God will always be God and His love for us as no end.   With that in our hearts and minds, may we be filled with hope for our lives and the future of First Baptist Church Carrollton.  

The best is yet to come,


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