March 15th, 2015 | Series: The Movement

Sermon Content

(Intro – Ryan talked about his “temporary” lapse in judgment that lasted four years—high school! In his freshman year of high school, he was caught on video surveillance at Target for attempting to steal CDs. He was told they would press charges against him and he would have to go to court. He stood before a judge and pled guilty. Ryan said that anytime they had an hour and a half surveillance footage on you there wasn’t any other options! By God’s design and sense of humor it was the thing that directly led to his first job at a church. He had to do community service, so he worked for his church as a “chair stacker.”)

In the book of Acts we’re going to skip a few chapters from where we’ve been. We left off on Acts 21 last week. We’re going to jump to Acts 26 this week. In between, Paul’s on trial for what he did in walking into the temple. If you were to ask different groups of people why Paul’s on trial in the passage we pick up in this morning, you would have a different answer based on each group you surveyed.

If you were to ask the Jewish people why Paul is on trial, they would have said that he’s on trial because he’s violated the Jewish law. Because he’s desecrated the temple, he brought a Gentile into the temple—he’s not allowed to do that. And he’s steering people away from the hope that’s in Moses and in the law and in the prophets and pointing them to Jesus. That would have been their reason.

If you were to ask the Romans why Paul was on trial, they would have said Paul’s on trial because he’s creating a disturbance in the city—both Caesarea and Jerusalem. He’s just creating all sorts of chaos. If there’s one thing the Romans didn’t like it was chaos. If you were a person that they thought was leading people in that direction, they would simply take you outside the city and kill you. They were gracious to Paul—-they put him in prison because he’s a Roman citizen and he finds himself on trial.

What’s really interesting, though, is not why the Jews think he’s on trial. And not why the Romans think he’s on trial. But the fascinating thing is the way that Paul, with his very own words, tells us why he’s on trial. Listen to what he says. He’s appearing before King Agrippa, who oversees the whole region for Rome, and he is going to have to give his defense. So he has a listening ear from the king and Paul, in one of his longer speeches in the book of Acts that Luke records for us, is going to tell us why he’s on trial. Starting in verse 4 of chapter 26 of the book of Acts. My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. {So he goes, hey, I was 1) consistent and 2) public with the way I lived out my faith in the Old Testament Scriptures. Verse 5.} They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. {In the book of Philippians Paul is going to say hey, I am a Hebrew of Hebrews. I was circumcised on the eighth day. I was born in the tribe of Benjamin. I was zealous for the law. So if you’re sorta ticking boxes, Paul says, I checked them all! I was accomplishing everything that a good Jewish person would set out to do. And then he tells us why he’s on trial. Verse 6.} And now I stand here on trial because of my HOPE in the promise made by God to our fathers.

So the Jews would say hey, you’re on trial because you violated the law and you desecrated the temple. The Romans would say you’re causing a disturbance so we need to put you away. But Paul, if you were to ask Paul to boil it all down for us and tell us why do you find yourself for the last two years in a jail cell, why are you there? Why are you on trial before us today? Here’s his answer—-I’m on trial because of the HOPE that I have. I read that this week and I had two thoughts: 1) every single one of us will find ourselves at some point on trial for the hope that we have. For some of us it may turn out to be exactly like Paul where we’re literally on trial—we may go in that direction in this country, I don’t know. But all of us will find ourselves at the point in life where we have to give a defense of our hope. Are we the type of people who have a hope that sustains in the dark difficult days of life OR are we people that have a hope that’s fleeting? You will stand trial for your hope. The question is not will we stand trial like the Apostle Paul did; the question is will there be enough evidence to convict us?! Will there be enough evidence to convict you of being a person of hope.

Hope is a difficult thing, isn’t it? I looked it up in our dictionary—just an English dictionary. We have over TEN ways that we define the word hope. Which means we have no idea what it means! Because if there’s ten definitions there’s really none that really encapsulate what this word carries. We use it in a ton of different ways, don’t we? I hope you have a good day! I hope you get a new job! I hope the health scare turns out all right. I hope everything goes well and ………fill in the blank. We use it in all sorts of ways. Hope can be, if you’ve ever tried to have hope especially in the difficult, dark situations of life, you know that having hope can be like trying to wrestle a wet eel! Right when you think you got it, it slips right through your hands. Doesn’t it? Any amens in the room? It’s hard to hold on to, isn’t it? For two reasons. We have this wrong perspective of hope. Oftentimes we think hope is simply a fairy tale. So we’ll use it that way, won’t we, the word hope. It’s this idea that we have of something that may or may not happen in the future, but when it really boils down to it we have NO conviction in our heart and soul that it actually will. Let me give you an example. I hope the Rockies will win the World Series! {Laughter} And your response shows that you hope the same thing and that we’re using hope in such a way where NONE of us believe that’s possible! I hope Colorado, at some point, gets a restaurant that carries delicious carne asada! I hope! Probably not going to happen, but I hope it does. We use it that way, don’t we? I hope I get a new job. I hope we get a new house. I hope things work out with the spouse that doesn’t seem like it’s going to. Really what we mean by hope is it’s a fairy tale.

The second way we often use hope is based on circumstances trending in a certain positive direction. The job’s going well so I hope I’m going to get a promotion. The relationship is going well and I hope it leads to this. I hope there’s reconciliation, I hope it leads to marriage, I hope…I hope…I hope. And what we have is a hope that’s centered on circumstances changing and trending in a good direction. I was trying to find out what do people out in the world say about hope? If we’re bordering on hopelessness, what do people suggest. In a psychology journal, here’s what I read this week. If you’re struggling with hopelessness, here’s what you should do. Set some goals, try to accomplish those goals, and when you do YOU will be filled with hope. Now, anybody else wanna poke some holes in that with me??! One, what do we do if we don’t achieve the goals? We’re in a worse position than we were when we started. We went from hopeless to despair. If we do accomplish the goals, our method of having hope is to continue to have goals and now I need to set bigger goals, better goals, higher goals and eventually, I’ll have to set goals that I have no way of accomplishing. I want to propose to you that that may not be the best way to go!

So, for followers of Jesus, if it’s not hopes and wishes and fairy tales and it’s not circumstances, where can we build our hope? What is the hope that a follower of Jesus can have that when the trial comes they’ll find us guilty—-of being people of hope?? Here’s what Paul says. And now I stand here on trial because of the hope I have in the promise made by God to our father, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! {The reason I stand before you is because I am a person, a man, who’s built my life on and I live in hope specifically, listen to verse 8…} Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

So here’s what Paul says. He’s going to describe distinctly Christian hope for us. Not fairy tales and wishes and not circumstances trending in a great direction, because we both know that one phone call can change all that, right? So what’s the hope that holds us? Here’s what Paul says, that hope is simply, yet complexly, this: Hope is the life-shaping FAITH AND PRACTICE that God is GOOD ON HIS PROMISES! And listen, as a Body, we’re sorta in a season where there’s been some people that have just gotten some absolutely devastating news! A number of you. And where do we run and where do we turn when things get difficult like that? When life gets real like that? And when hope gets slippery? Where do we turn?? Paul would say we don’t turn to our circumstances and we don’t turn to what we see with just our own eyes. Where we turn is we turn to God who is absolutely wholly, 100% every single time, good on the promises he makes!!

I love the way that Dallas Willard, the pastor, author and philosopher, puts it when he says: “Hope is the confident anticipation of good.” So let me ask you, do you have that kind of hope? Confident anticipation of good—-I would add…because of the promises of God. Here’s the difficult part with hope. If hope is the confident assurance in faith in practice that God is good on his promises, in order to be people of hope we need to know what God has promised, don’t we? I’ll answer for you—-yeah, we do! You cannot be a person of hope if you don’t know what God has promised. There’s a correlation, there’s a tie between understanding what the Scriptures say about God and you, and being a person of hope. You can’t be a person of ignorance and be a person of hope. You cannot be a person of Biblical illiteracy and be a person of hope. You can be a person of wishes and you can be a person of circumstances. But if hope is directly tied to building our life in faith and practice on the good promises of God, we have to know what he’s promised, do we not? And one of the reasons hope is so slippery for us, friends, is because we haven’t really grounded our hearts and our lives in what God has promised to be true……about you, about me and about what Jesus has done on our behalf. I’m still intro, but I want to just invite you to soak in the promises of God for a moment. Let’s just let them wash over us!

That His blood is sufficient to cover our sin.

That we stand before Him holy, spotless, blameless.

That He promises to work everything {now eyes up at me just a second.} I know you’re walking through some difficult times, but He says I love you enough to work EVERYTHING together for your good. I know that stings and I know that hurts some of you, but He’s going I’m working, I’m in it, I haven’t left you. Not height nor depth nor angels nor principalities or things present or things to come will be able to separate you from my love! You’re a child of the King! Redeemed by His blood! The Holy Spirit lives in you! And He is good to you!!

They’re all promises! And they’re promises that if we can get them in our soul and in our hearts in such a way that they will start to change our life! Paul goes I’m on trial because of the hope I have. They’re going to find him guilty. I don’t know about you, but I hope they find me guilty, too. Of being a person that hope has gotten so deeply inside of that it naturally gets out of me. I love the way that he says this in verse 8, because he’s gonna sorta tie his hope to one distinct event. He says this: Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? So here is his hope. His hope is on the good promises of God as found in the person and work of Jesus WALKING OUT OF THE GRAVE! That was the hope of the early church, friends. It wasn’t the hope of Easter. It was the hope that they built their faith on. That this God speaks life into dead things. That he speaks hope into hopeless situations. That he creates out of NOTHING things that come into being. Not just in the universe at large, but in our lives, too. So he says come to me, I’m good. I love you. I’m for you. If you’re on trial for your hope, would there be enough evidence to convict?

Paul goes on in this chapter of Acts in his defense in front of King Agrippa to give us some ways that we can see the hope that’s in his soul coming out in his life. These are evidences of hope. These are things that the jury would look at and say yeah, this guy is a hopeful person. He’s guilty! I want to propose to you that there are things that should come out of our lives too if we are people of hope. Four things I want to give you as we look at Paul’s defense in front of King Agrippa here in the book of Acts. Chapter 26 continuing in verse 9. I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. {Now, you may have a shady past, I might have a shady past, could we all agree it’s probably not all that shady? He (Paul) was going I was putting Christians to death because of their faith in Jesus. Verse 11.} And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities. Here’s what Paul says. I was a person so committed to the Law and I was a person so committed to the Old Testament Scriptures and the way that he read them. I was so committed to THAT, but I was not a person that was committed to love. I would put people up on trial just because of their faith in Jesus and I would cast my vote to kill them.

But then he becomes a person of hope. (TRANSFORMATION) Then he gets introduced to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and this hope gets so deep inside his soul he finds himself on trial for it. Part of the evidence that convicts him is that I (Paul) am a changed man. I use to be this blasphemer. I used to be this angry person. I used to put Christians to death, he says, but then I encountered the living Christ and I’m changed. We still believe this message of the cross and redemption, grace and mercy found in Jesus changes people. We do! We wouldn’t exist as a church if we didn’t believe that whole-heartedly. That when hope gets deep down inside your soul, it changes you. Not overnight, but over time. And we believe that your HISTORY does NOT determine your DESTINY! That Paul’s history didn’t determine his destiny. He was an angry blasphemer. He was a murderer, by way of casting his vote towards innocent people. But God takes his life. And God pulls it out of the pit. And He does the same thing in lives of people today, too. Anyone just wanna raise your hand and say yep, that’s me? I once was this—in my former life I was this—-but now God has redeemed me and the lie the enemy wants you to believe is you will always be who you are. The power of hope says that does not have to be true. He’s good and when hope gets in you it changes you. I’ll just prove it to you. Have you ever met a young man who thought or hoped he had a chance with a beautiful woman? And they change, don’t they? All of a sudden this guy’s like grabbing doors—-hey, can I help you? Can I carry that for you? If they’re in high school, they may start doing their homework or they start working out. They’re a changed person, right? We do the same thing at work if we think a promotion is on the horizon. We’ll work a little bit harder, won’t we? We’ll do a little bit better job. We’ll follow through on everything we say we’re going to do. Why? Because when hope gets in you it changes you.

The same thing happened with the Apostle Paul in his life and his walk with Jesus. Listen to the way the prophet Isaiah will talk about hope. Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31) They’ll become a different type of person. They’ll be able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death knowing that God is with them. They’re changed—they’re different. We use the terminology “Gospel transformation” here. It’s simply means that we’re convinced that when the hope of what Jesus has done on Calvary’s hill gets into your soul, you change. So we’ll keep pointing you back to Him.

Here’s the way that Paul continues. Verse 12. In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ {It’s an idiom. It’s a way of him saying why are you swimming against the stream.} And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’ It’s the third time in the book of Acts that Dr. Luke has recorded for us Paul’s testimony. His story. The way that he became the person that he is. Paul loves sharing this. Whether he’s on trial, whether he’s just sharing the good news with people, he points back to this event. I was walking, I saw a light, I was knocked to the ground and I met Jesus and I’m different because of it. People of hope aren’t just people who are changed, they’re people who have an ENCOUNTER (EXPERIENCE). People of hope are people who meet Jesus. It’s as though hope in the good promises of God and his provision in Jesus Christ—it’s as though when we really believe that it takes us and puts our hand in Jesus’ and the information we have about Jesus isn’t just head knowledge, it starts to become heart knowledge. And it changes us from the very inside out. Paul says one of the evidences that I’m a person of hope is that I have met the living Christ. Do you know that Jesus’ invitation to you isn’t come and find out a whole bunch of information about me? It’s not. Information is important and you can’t have hope without it, but it is NOT the end. In fact, Jesus says to a bunch of Pharisees who love the Scriptures….he says hey, you search the Scriptures and you know the Scriptures, but the Scriptures point to ME and you refuse to come to me and have life! It’s not about just knowing ABOUT Jesus, it’s about KNOWING Jesus. Walking with Jesus. Being transformed by Jesus. Allowing Him to speak to you and say listen, you’re off base, you’re walking in sin, you need to repent, you need to come home. These are all by-products of building our lives on the hope that exhibits itself in an encounter with the living Christ. If we aren’t people of hope, I would submit to you we’ll never be people of encounter. Of experience of walking WITH Jesus, not just talking about him. Are you tired of hearing Christians just simply talk about Jesus? I am. Without really knowing him.

Paul says hey, one of the evidences to convict me is I met him. I walk with him. He lives his life through me Galatians 2 would say. And indeed, what he says in the very beginning is God raised him from the dead, his implication here is Jesus is alive. We’re going to celebrate it in a few weeks, friends. We’re going to celebrate the Resurrection together, but the implications of the Resurrection are absolutely huge. It means that you and I, we can have friendship with Jesus. We can know Him, we can be known by Him. We can walk with Him. This is the hope. This is the hope that Paul grounds his life in.

Christianity is always more than an experience, but it’s never less! I think it begs us to ask the question: What’s your story? How’d you come to know this Jesus, if you have? How’s He called you out of darkness into light, as Paul says? How’s He spoken redemption over your life? Do you love to tell your story? Paul loved to tell his. I think it not only led him to hope, but it stirred a hope that just resonated in his soul.

He goes on and says in verse 16: But rise and stand upon your feet, {This is what Jesus has said to Paul.} for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—-to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. {That’s good news, yes? The message—turn from darkness to light—-this is a message of hope.} ….that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

So here’s his third evidence. One, I’m a transformed man, I’m different. Two, I have walked hand-in-hand and do walk hand-in-hand with a good God, whose name is Jesus Christ. I’ve met him. And finally he says, God lit up my life with PURPOSE. If you find people of hope, you will always find people of purpose. People of hope can’t hold it inside.

Illustration: Kelly and I made some rookie mistakes when we were young parents. Still do. One of them was we would tell our kids early on about something fun that was coming later on. Like hey, in two weeks your grandparents are coming!! Don’t ever tell your kids what you’re going to do!! Here’s what happens for those next two weeks: What are we going to eat while they’re here? What are we going to do while they’re here? Are we going to go swimming? Are we going to get to go play at the park? Are we going to, are we going to, are we going to??!! We’re like grandma and grandpa aren’t coming anymore!!! We’re done!! We aren’t over making this mistake. We made it recently, too. POINT: The hope gets inside of you of the good future and there’s just questions and there’s anticipation and there’s excitement and you want to be a part of it.

This is what Paul says. Hope got inside me in such a way that it sent me and the life-shaping hope built on the promises of God is always a SENDING hope. I love the way that Emily Dickinson put it in one of her poems. “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers {as if to say it causes you to fly}, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops—at all.” If you find lazy people you will find hopeless people every time. But if you find people who are invested, people who are driven, people who long to see God move and work, you will always find people of deep and abiding life-changing hope every single time.

Listen to the way that some of the great missionaries of our rich history talk about this purpose, this sending. Hope gets in them in such a way that it, just like a sling-shot, launches them into the world to walk with Jesus. William Carey, the father of modern missions, a missionary in China said this: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

David Livingstone, a missionary in Africa, said: “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” A hopeful person, a person of purpose and calling and mission.

John Keith Falconer, a missionary to Yemen, said: “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.”

C.T. Studd, a missionary in China {and can we all agree that with that name he’s gonna be epic}, said: “Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.”

John Piper, the great pastor, says: “To belong to Jesus is to embrace the nations with Him.”

I want to propose to you that we will never do that, we won’t even think about doing that, unless we’re people like Paul of deep and abiding hope who believe that what God has promised He will be good on. He WILL deliver, He WILL come through. And when that vision of the future gets inside your soul it just launches you and sends you. This isn’t a guilty ‘you need to share your faith more’. This is a please, invest time in knowing and abiding in the Scriptures and then the natural direction of your life will be Jesus, you are great and your hope is inside of me in such a way that I can’t shake it and I need to share it!

What I love about Paul is that he never deviates from this calling, even when he finds himself in jail. So two years he’s been in jail and he gets a hearing in front of King Agrippa and he is just as fiery as the day he went in, is he not? He’s like hey, I’ve had some time to think about this……..and I still think what I thought. Jesus is amazing! He walked out of the grave. His grace is sufficient. His power is in me and King Agrippa, it says in verse 28 and 29, you should turn and become a follower of Jesus! Why wouldn’t you? He is just as fiery and I love that!!

So, when hope gets in us it changes us, it transforms us. It leads us to an experience with the slain Risen Lamb, his name is Jesus. And it gives us a beautiful purpose in life. And finally, here’s what Paul says. Verse 22. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, {Anybody need the help that comes from God?} and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. Two years later, his message is God has sustained me. God has walked with me. God has provided for me and I have lacked nothing. I have the help that comes from God. And that’s the fourth evidence of people who are people of hope. They’re people of PERSEVERANCE.

A life-shaping hope is always a life-sustaining hope. And when life gets difficult and when life gets dark and when life gets hard and when the phone call comes from the doctor and things aren’t going in the direction that you want it to go, the question is will we be the type of people who are grounded enough in the promises of God to say with Paul….I have a help that comes from God. And those hard times in life are the times when it’s most difficult to have hope and most necessary to keep it.

I love the way that the author of Hebrews puts this when he writes: We have this {and he’s talking about hope} as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…(Heb. 6:19) The picture is that the storm comes and the boat of life is getting buffeted by the waves of disappointment, by the waves of this isn’t turning out the way that I want it to, of the waves….for Paul it was jail. When that comes, he says, we have this hope as an anchor for the soul. A hope that enters in to the inner place behind the curtain. He says this is an intimate hope with Jesus where he speaks to you and says, I have not let you go! I am for you, even in the midst of the storm. I love you. My love will not let go, it will not run dry. I am at work. I will be at work. I’m good and I’m for you. {Look up at me just a second.} Some of you need to hear that today. That a hope that’s grounded in the good promises of God is a hope that the Scriptures say in Romans 5:5, “…will not disappoint.” And so I just want to encourage you. Some of you are going God I don’t see how you are at work in this. I don’t see how you’re moving. I can’t hear your voice. I don’t feel your hand. What I want to do is push you back to the promises of God that He says I will always be good on. ALWAYS! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. In the valley of the shadow of death and in the beauty of the mountaintop, I will not change!

I love the way that the pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says it when he says, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

So here’s the evidence stacked against Paul. He says I’m a changed man, I’m transformed. I’ve experienced, I’ve walked with the living Christ. He says I’m a person of purpose and calling and mission. Hope got in me in such a way that it stirred me to get it out of me. And finally, hope’s carrying me. Through the years of jail, he would say, he’s lacked nothing. He’s had a help that comes from God. So let me ask you, friend, if you were on trial for being a person of hope, and all of us will be at some point, would there be enough evidence to convict? Is hope that IN you that it gets out of you? As followers of Jesus, we’re invited to build our lives on the good promises of God, the future that he has already purchased by His Blood on our behalf. In closing, I want to point out that according to this passage and others that hope is a confidence in God’s promises, we’ve already talked about that. One of my favorite passages in 2 Corinthians 1:20 says that ALL of the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Jesus Christ. So there’s not one promise—which is what ALL means—that lies outside of the work—both finished and future work—of Jesus. Not one! You’re never going to read one in the Scriptures! God’s promises equal Jesus’ work and His provision. Based on the fact that hope is a confidence in God’s promises and that God’s promises are Jesus, hope is not just I wish it will happen or I dream it will happen or if my circumstances go this way I can hold on. Hope is I’m grounded in the person and work of Jesus. He IS sufficient. He IS enough. He IS good. He IS present……right now.

Hope = Confidence in God’s promises

God’s promises = Jesus

Hope = Jesus

And so in closing, what I’d like to invite you to be is not to be people who just have hope, but I want to invite you to be the type of people who let hope have you! The work of Christ, that I want to propose to you, transforms you. That I want to propose to you, leads you to an experience with the living slain Lamb, Jesus Christ. That I’d like to propose to you, when it gets inside of you stirs you, messes with you, you find yourself doing things you wouldn’t naturally do. And I want to propose to you that on the darkest days of life He is the one who will walk with you, sustain you, love you, carry you all the way into the destiny He already purchased for you! Friends, let’s be a people of hope where when we’re put on trial for it there’s no doubt —- GUILTY!! I am confident in the promises my God has made and he’s kept in the work of Jesus, who walked out of the grave and gave us new life! I don’t know what situation you’re walking through right now, but I know the God who holds that situation and your hand as you walk it. Will you hope in Him?

Let’s pray. King of Kings, Lord of Lords, seated on the throne right now. Jesus, we love you. And we long not to be just people who have hope, but who step fully into it. Not making provisions if you don’t come through, but just giving ourselves to you because we believe you’re good. And that you’re good on your promises. Help us be people that know them. Help us be people who rest in them. Help us be people that are transformed by them, that experience them. That are sent by those promises of the goodness and that are sustained in the dark days of life by a deep and abiding hope in you and you alone, King Jesus. It’s in your beautiful, powerful name we pray. Amen.