Monday, June 2, 2014

Giving Away Hope

So - tonight we're gonna do a book give away here on the old bloggy blog.

Now - two things to note before I go any further.

ONE: There's only true source of light, true source of Him, true source of everything this world can be. And that's the BIBLE. No author can match it and truthfully - none should try. That being said - every now and then somebody comes along who can write in a way that I feel can compel His disciples to hear Him and better yet... to MOVE for Him. This is one of those times.

TWO: Scott Todd's assistant gave me these books to give away but I gain absolutely nothing from doing this. I don't know Scott. But I feel like I know his heart after reading this. And it's a book that should be shared, read and acted on. It reflects the bible's call to action and should inspire us to put our faith in action.

Okay - with housekeeping outta the way - let's jump into this. "Hope Rising" is a book by an executive at Compassion International that makes a downright audacious statement:

"Christians can end poverty in THIS generation."
Wait... what? No we can't.... can we?

Scott Todd thinks we can. And I tend to agree. He says things like this in here:

Chew on that for a second. I dare you to. I dare you to read this and test him by opening the bible and seeing what's in there.

He says things like this:

Wait... huh? This will cost me? I thought this whole "Christian" thing was free?

Yeah - it is. Free and undeserved. And a heart that actually GETS that will overflow with the desire to do what HE asked of us.

Not deeds people. Joyful worship of Him for the undeserved gift He gave us all. And in that... the unintended consequence (or maybe it was intended - I kinda think it was) - is HOPE.

Our overflowing love poured out in worship of Him brings HOPE to the world.

We know a little something about hope around here - our lives were saved by it. Hope that looks like this:

And like this...

And hope like this...

When I picked up these books today from Scott's awesome assistant - this sticker was on the front:

I love it.

Will you join us in advancing this cause? This challenge to end poverty in this generation?

It can be done... it just needs a whole lot of teamwork from those of us actually calling ourselves "disciples."

So here's the deal - I like a good conversation about this kind of stuff - so if you're interested in this book - which I'll ship to ya totally free of charge - leave me a comment here and let me know your thoughts on this topic...

... can we do it?

... is your church already taking part in ending it?

... what does your heart tell you about this?

... did Jesus REALLY mean we'd have poor with us... ALWAYS?

Gimmee some chatter around this and what we'll do is get all these names in a hat and have the goofball gang pull 'em out on Friday and we'll announce the winners and ship 'em out!

Good luck - let's all get on board with this because I truly, truly feel we can make a significant difference GLOBALLY when we get past ourselves and see what He is waiting for us to do!


Andy Butts said...

I believe we need to get out our comfort zone and do what we as Christians are called to do. Yes it will cost us; time, relationships, and maybe money. But it's totally worth it. We need to stop being comfortable and start being called. We need to do the hard things. I will get off my soapbox now. I could go on for hours about this.

Blake Allen said...

Great idea bro! To answer your questions:

1. Can we do it? Absolutely. I have seen what happens when the Church comes together to take up the cause of the fatherless and defend the widow. BFR's sponsorship program is a true miracle. 72 sponsors provide for 80 children and it happened in only 2 months. Many (most) of the sponsors haven't even been to BFR. They simply give out of obedience to the command God has given them and lives are changed. That was a response led by the Holy Spirit. What more could be accomplished when we abandon our goals and objectives and as Jeremiah mentions above, allow the Spirit to make the thought of a brother and sister being oppressed absolutely painful to us. Lindsay and I had talked about how we loved that verse so much. The last part is pretty spectacular and telling of our reaction; "I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail." Whenever Jeremiah decided to quit and no longer speak in God's name, the divine message that had been given to him became this incredible fire in his bones. He HAD to speak, no matter how unpopular his message would be. The Spirit is ready to make us all do insane things by the world's standards that will allow God to show himself sovereign and glorified. And we can be a part.

2. Is your church already taking part in ending it? If the answer is no, I don't want to be at my church. I love our drive to obey God's command. I encourage everyone to know how their church is involved, and if they aren't involved, start being the one in your body that makes the change. Maybe that's where God has gifted you to serve.

3. What does your heart tell you about this? My heart simply tells me that if I am not aching from the thought of someone's suffering, then my heart isn't aligned a closely with my Savior as it needs to be. The fruit of this relationship will be an outpouring of self-sacrificing love.

4. Did Jesus really mean we'd have poor with us always? That verse in both Matthew and Mark was from Deuteronomy 15. Looking at that text, there shouldn't have been poor because God would bless the Israelites abundantly. However, due to sin, this was never achieved. I think the same goes for today. Sin keeps us from eliminating poverty in Jesus' name. Being "stained by the world" keeps us from acting the way the Holy Spirit wants to move us. Could we, yes, through His power. But that would mean that we all must "take up the cause" and allow ourselves to be surrendered to Him.

Mary Beth said...

Sounds great! I would love a copy.

Can we do it? With the power of the Holy Spirit working through us, absolutely! I think in order for us to be effective in tackling this we're going to have to get serious about acknowledging our own poverty first. And, of course, we need Jesus for that too, to challenge our complacency and heal our brokenness. And from that healing springs compassion, love, and selflessness.

So thankful we've got the Hoffmans on this team!

Unknown said...

ANDY!! You climb right back up on that soapbox man - right now! The church NEEDS to hear from its body like that! So glad to know you and so glad you're such a huge part of taking on this challenge head on...

Unknown said...

Blake - I love this man...

The church absolutely needs deep thinkers like you man. Folks willing to dig in and chew on the Word and turn it back out in ways we can all understand it and cause us to move on it.

Thanks for all you do in that area!

I love your heart - not just for these kids - but for God and the desire to please Him. It's so clear man.

And wait til ya get tot he chapters where Scott talks about Jesus talking to Judas and how he gives context around that conversation.

Those using that verses as a crutch against getting involved are missing what was being said I think...

Thanks dude - keep doing what you do!

Troy said...

Heard Matthew West's song on the way in this morning and was thinking about that when reading your post...

"Do Something"

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

So, the old montage of 10% of the body doing the work just won't hold water with something like global poverty.

Is my church doing it? No. Again, that slim percentage. Had a pretty heavy discussion about that on Sunday. Both on the local and global scene.

Anonymous said...

It is surely a cause I am desiring to stay a part of! I'm excited to read his ideas and see how they all line up with HIS ideas. I love when someone challenges me to think about something on a larger scale than my brain normally goes. We serve a big God and its a privilege to be a part of what HE desires!
Susie Sanders

Jana said...

Wow, this sounds like one I would love to read and then pass on to friends. It's so easy for us to pretend and ignore and be comfortable.

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Catching up with you guys and finding this post. Sounds like an important read from someone with the experience needed to drop true wisdom on the subject of poverty.

Is the church addressing poverty? I do think it is attempting to, but I think most have no idea how and are doing so ineffectively.

Truly getting beyond ourselves in this is critical and almost impossible for most. The church is becoming effective at the logistics of sending mission teams, which is often wonderful for discipleship and awareness raising. Unfortunately, the church struggles with how to be effective with those teams for those they hope to serve. AND, much beyond mission teams that truly engages or addresses poverty is a struggle for most. Believing for more though, as the right conversations and reflections seem to have begun on a small scale.