How Can I Have Hope?
Sometimes people ask me, where do you get your hope from, you know, how do you press on how do you just keep doing what you do day after day ? The first source of hope for us has got to be the brutal facts. If we're not willing to face the brutal facts and we we just live in an illusion and we can't really do the work that we're being called to do once we face the brutal facts, once we open our eyes and say, OK, I'm willing to look at whatever I need to see at this moment, then I think we take this opportunity to look at three Tensas about this time of year.
I'd usually be I'd be looking forward to going to my annual pilgrimage to see Dickens's Christmas Carol here in Cincinnati at the the playhouse in the park. Of course, this year it won't be on. But in the Christmas Carol, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas future or the Christmas that will be.
I think it's a great analogy. I think it's a great way for us to look at our lives from time to time. I think tonight it is good for us to reflect on our past, on our present, on our future. What does God want to do in all of those things ? Well, God wants to heal our past, where our past needs to be healed. God wants to heal it. God wants to engage us in the present. He wants us to fully experience the present moment.
And he calls us to prayer and reflection. He calls us to all sorts of spiritual experiences so that we can get focused in the present moment and really fully engage in the present and fully experience the present and then the future. And what we're going to do in our second session tonight, which I'm looking forward to. I've never done it before in this way and I'm really looking forward to it. We're going to have a look into the future and we're going to dream with God. That's what God wants to do with us.
He wants us to to dream with him about the future in order to get to the present and to move on into the future and dream without limitations in the future. One of the things we got to do is make peace with the past. With that being said, I think. There are a couple of things that I notice so many millions of people struggling with, the first one is. You are not what has happened to you in the past.
Those things may have happened to you, but that is not who you are. You are not the things you have done in the past. You may feel guilty about some of those things, you may feel good about some of those things, and it's it's good for us to feel good about those things and it's good for us to feel guilty about some of those things. Guilt is a good thing, keeps us away from danger. It keeps us focused in the right direction.
It keeps our moral compass pointing toward TrueNorth. But there's a difference between guilt and shame. I think what a lot of people look at their past, they experience shame. Shame is a useless emotion, shame as a soul eating experience and doesn't come from God, you see. What is fundamentally the difference between guilt and shame when we experience shame ? Our inner voice says to us, you are bad.
When we experience guilt. Our inner voice says to us. You did a bad thing. And there's an enormous difference, there's a world of difference, three universes of difference between those two things. And so it's important that we give shame. The great shame is like the carcass of a dead animal on the road that you just have to step over and move on.
And guilt is a great advancement from shame. If you can move from from shame to guilt, that's an enormous advancement. And there are some things in our past that we should feel guilty about. There are some things in our past we should apologize to God for. We should have apologized to other people for. And that's OK. And that's OK. So you're not what's happened to you in the past ? You're not what you did in the past. You're also not what you've accomplished in the past. There's so much more to you.
And that's what we want to explore tonight. We're going to look at amazing possibilities. We got to get at the potential of you.
I was reading a philosophy book, you know, many, many years ago, and they're talking about being and the being of this and the being of that, and if you're not a lover of philosophy, you probably pick up a philosophy book and get, you know, sleepy fairly quickly. But one of the things I love about philosophy and the concept of being. Is the idea that.
The being of something that is changeable. So your essence, your being is not only. What it is today, but what it still can be, you've got this potential, you know, when we look at kids, we see all this potential. But I don't know, at some point when people get a little bit older, we stop seeing potential, we stop seeing potential in ourselves, we stop seeing potential in other people.
We start looking for potential in ourselves, and God never does. God sees potential in you potentially. You've never seen potential. You've never considered God sees amazing possibilities in you. He sees things you don't see. You know, when you go to the grocery store and you're walking down the aisle, you're. You're looking for toothpaste, you're going down the toothpaste aisle.
How many different brands of toothpaste do you think there are in the average grocery store ? Considering that Coalgate is just one all the 50 million different Colgate's to just one, Chris is just one. The sixteen hundred different Chris. Just one. How many different brands of toothpaste do you think they are ? I've done the exercise with a whole bunch of groups over the years and get a group of people together, they usually come up with eight or nine, 10 or 12.
But the reality is there's well over 30 different brands of toothpaste in the average supermarket aisle. We don't see them. We walked down the aisle. We pick up our box. We don't see the words on the box, why bright, clean, fresh, we don't see these words, we pick up our box, you see Alcala, we take our color box off the shelf.
And we put it in our car. And off we go. We don't see the others we're so used to taking that path and getting that box off the shelf and putting it in a car, we don't see the rest. We're blind to those all those other possibilities. Hundreds of different toothpastes, we don't see them. Same thing happens in our lives most of the time we don't see most of the possibilities before us, someone comes to you and says, I've got a big decision to make.
What's the decision ? I've got to decide between doing this and doing that. The reality is there's probably hundreds of other options they haven't considered when you and I make a decision, we tend to hone in on a couple of options really quickly, but there are hundreds of possibilities that we don't see. Why does God invite us into a relationship ?
Why does God challenge us to spend sacred time each day in prayer and reflection so that we can realize our potential, so that he can open our eyes to our potential, so that he can open our eyes to our amazing possibilities, so that we can go out into the world. Become the best version of ourselves, live the incredible life that God created us to live.
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