Summary: The beginning of an Easter sermon series. There is so much messed up in the world. Why? Hopelessness. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope!

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Intro: On December 17, 1927 a US Submarine was patrolling off the Atlantic Coast when it accidentally collided with a Coast Guard Cutter. The submarine was so severely damaged that it sank and came to rest on the floor of the Atlantic about 100 feet down. A rescue ship was dispatched to the scene of the collision and immediately divers were sent to investigate. The first diver to go down was a Commander Ellsberg, who came up reporting the submarine was on her keel with a large hole in her side ... and no sign of life. The next morning, however, two more divers went down again to survey the situation, and as they did they heard tappings coming from inside the damaged vessel. The tapping turned out to be in Morse code. From the signals the divers learned that there were six men who survived the crash. The last message they tapped out in Morse code was: "Is there hope? Please hurry, please!"

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt surrounded and trapped without hope? If you have ever felt hopeless you are not alone. Today we begin a 4 part sermon series for Easter that I pray will be of great help for you.

Let’s ask a question, why does it seem that our cities, counties, country and world are getting worse? Teenage suicide is skyrocketing. Drug use, alcohol, destructive habits and lifestyles, financial failure, broken marriages and relationships often cause a sense of hopelessness. These trends are not just among the poor and underprivileged. The trends even apply to the rich and affluent.

These usually are the result of feeling hopeless and helpless to change it.

I completely believe it is a mindset and a worldview that is to blame for the rise of hopelessness in our day. It is called pluralism. Pluralism is the idea that all religions are equally valid and true.

There are some clear and distinct pitfalls that we must avoid to keep from having false hope that leads to hopelessness.

Pitfall 1: Wishful thinking – Have you ever tried to change anything with your thoughts?

Hoping someone will notice you

Hoping the Hogs win a national championship

Blow the candles out on birthday cake and ask for these.

This is taking our desires and depending on sheer willpower to change reality.

We have to be careful that we don’t deceive ourselves to the point we despair because the result doesn’t match our thinking.

Pitfall 2: Blind optimism – Optimism is a commendable trait. However, you must always guard against looking at the world through rose colored glasses. If you are not careful you ignore the real problems of the world.

Illustration: Parents dealing with two boys one a serial pessimist and the other a ceaseless optimist. Do you know people like that? Optimists who are convinced everything is always great, who gloss over problems in their lives? The overly positive attitude might seem admirable, but again, it doesn’t change reality.

Pitfall 3: Hopeful dreams – Lofty goals. NFL, NBA, dwelling on and driving toward you dreams doesn’t mean they will become reality.

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