Summary: What is my personal story of hope? Where do I see hope through Christ?
Last week we talked about the reason that we all have hope. We talked about the fact that God wants us so desperately and so passionately that He would die for us. And he did. And that is our story of hope as the body of Christ. But tonight, I want us to bring that point in a little closer to home. Tonight, I want us to look at our own personal stories of hope.
I believe that each person in this room has a story of hope. I believe that each of you have seen God move in your life in some way. For those of you who may not have accepted Christ as your Savior yet, I’m willing to bet you have seen God work either in your life or someone’s life that is close to you. I believe you wouldn’t be here tonight if you had never seen God move before. Some of you, your story of hope is your salvation story.
Your story may be as simple as I’ve grown up in church my entire life. I’ve always known that God loved me. So one night, at the age of 7, after my Gandpa read me a bedtime story, I gave my life to God.
For others of you, you may have realized something new about God during confirmation or while at VBS and gave your life to Christ.
Then for some of you, your salvation experience is important but you’ve seen God move even more since then. You may have seen your grandma get healed from Cancer. Your family may have been completely broke, didn’t know where dinner was coming from and then for some strange reason, you felt in your back pocket, found a crumpled up $20 and the family could eat!
Or maybe, you’re sitting there saying, I’ve not yet given my life to Christ. And I’ve never seen God really move in my life or other peoples, life. Then your story of hope may be having the faith to believe what we talked about last week. This is the fact that God loves you so much that before you were even born, He died for you.
So every person in this room has atleast one story of hope. And some of you have multiple. Grace and Beverly have already shared with you theirs. And we have even more people that will be sharing with you in the coming weeks.
But I’d like to share with you one of my stories of hope. I have several, but this is the story of when I gave my life to God.
I was born on a Wednesday. That next Sunday, my parents took me to church and I’ve been going to church ever since. My father was the choir director at whichever church we went to and my mother was the church secretary or very involved in the church in some way.
I don’t ever remember a time growing up that we didn’t go to church. My parents did bible studies with us at home as well. In the Church of God, you had two revivals every year. One in the Spring and one in the Fall. Now for some reason, all the adults LOVE revival, however, the children didn’t. It meant going to church 7 nights in a row and hearing some strange, sweaty man scream at you and tell you that you were going to hell.
For years, on the night they talked about hell, I would sneak out because I had to go to the bathroom. Really, it was just a scary topic and I didn’t want to hear it.
So one year, my friend Justin and I, decided we would sit on the very front pew. This night, the evangelist talked about hell. And if I didn’t come to the altar and get saved then I was going there.
Well, you don’t have to tell me twice, Next thing I know, I was crying at the altar and the organ player was there praying with me. That is the first time I ever realized that I had sin in my life and I needed Jesus’ to forgive me. That is the first time I surrendered my life to God.
I had realized that I was a sinner and needed the hope that Christ offered. I have many stories of hope throughout my life. Some of you have heard more of them through lesson son Sunday nights or small groups that we have been in together. But this is my first memory of understanding the hope that I have in Christ.
So what is your story of hope? When someone asks you to give a defense for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus, what would you tell them?
I want to help you to be confident in your story of hope so for the next few minutes, I’d like to invite you to take some paper and a pen and write out your story of hope. Each of us has our own story and each story will be different. But in order to be confident in your story of hope, I’d like for you to write it down. You do not have to share it with anyone today. And this is yours to keep; however, I would like to have a copy of it if you’re ok with that. If you are ok with it, we can take it down stairs and use the copy machine. Then I will practice confidentiality and keep them locked up. This is not my story to tell, it is yours. I would just like to keep a copy so that in 6 months, I can give you your copy to remind you of your hope story. Sometimes we forget about the hope that we once had and it’s nice to have a reminder.
If you have questions about what to write, the youth counselors will be around the room and we may be able to help you out.